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Michael A. Hart

Fax +1.412.355.6501

Mr. Hart has a broad-based employee benefits practice, and advises employers of all sizes in and in a variety of industries with respect to qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, equity-based compensation plans, and welfare benefit plans. His experience includes the following areas:

  • Tax-qualified retirement plan compliance matters for 401(k) and other defined contribution plans and defined benefit pension plans
  • Executive compensation
  • Employee benefits aspects of mergers and acquisitions
  • ESOP transactions
  • ERISA fiduciary duty training and compliance
  • Multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability
  • Engagement of retirement plan third party administrators and other service providers
  • Income and payroll (FICA/FUTA) tax withholding
  • ERISA enforcement matters (internal benefit claims and appeals and ERISA claims for benefits and breach of fiduciary duty litigation)
  • Federal regulatory investigations (IRS, DOL, PBGC)

Mr. Hart also provides federal income tax compliance advice to financial institutions with respect to individual tax-favored savings accounts, such as individual retirement accounts, Coverdell education savings accounts, health savings accounts and Archer medical savings accounts.

  • Regularly provides design and compliance advice to several Fortune 500 companies with respect to a variety of different types of tax-qualified defined contribution retirement plans and defined benefit pension plans with assets of more than $1B.
  • Advised employer with respect to spinoff of more than $1B of defined benefit pension liabilities in connection with corporate divestiture of non-core business
  • Regularly provides design and compliance advice to numerous employers with respect to nonqualified deferred compensation plans under Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Advised investment management firm with respect to Internal Revenue Code Section 409A and ERISA “top hat” exemption failures in connection with a nonqualified deferred compensation bonus arrangement.
  • Served as ESOP counsel to purchaser in the sale of a $270M manufacturing company in which an ESOP was a substantial minority owner.
  • Served as ESOP counsel to the seller of a manufacturing and service company that was wholly owned by an ESOP.
  • Regularly updates administrative and investment fiduciaries of a variety of tax-qualified retirement plans on ERISA 401(k) plan investment and fee class action litigation.
  • Advised maritime company regarding potential exposure for multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability of an affiliate, including determination of estimated withdrawal liability and determination of controlled group.
  • Advised consumer product manufacturer with respect to the defense of a multiemployer pension plan’s claim for unpaid employer contributions.
  • Regularly provides advice to sellers and purchasers in corporate acquisition with respect to the impact of the acquisition on multiemployer pension withdrawal liability and estimates of such liability.
  • Advised several states regarding the use of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in state-mandated automatic IRA enrollment statutes.
  • Advised IRA custodian regarding structuring of IRA products with respect nontraditional investments in hard-to-value assets, including advice regarding valuation and unrelated business income tax issues in connection with such investments.
  • Advised IRA custodian in connection with transfer of IRA custodial duties for several thousand accounts to successor in connection with corporate divestiture.
  • Advised building design and construction and residential building management group with respect to determination of controlled group in connection with health care obligations for full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act and tax-qualified retirement plan nondiscrimination testing.
  • Regularly reviews and negotiates service agreements with third party administrators for tax-qualified retirement plans and assists plan fiduciaries with the selection and monitoring of such providers.
  • Advised IRA trustee with respect to design and rollout of its proprietary estate planning IRA product, including the drafting of the trust agreement and disclosure statement and related promotional and internal training materials.
  • Advised employer with respect to the multibillion dollar restructuring and reorganization of its salaried and collectively bargained pension plans (including several dozen different benefit structures) in preparation for its multistage corporate divestiture strategy.
  • Represented sponsor of $500M defined benefit pension plan in connection with Department of Labor investigation into fiduciary procedures for locating missing participants.