CHICAGO – A federal court in Chicago has ruled a Lincolnshire provider of employee benefit services must comply immediately with a U.S. Department of Labor administrative subpoena seeking documents for an Employee Benefits Security Administration investigation of unauthorized distributions from employee benefit accounts.
On Oct. 28, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Kness of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, issued the ruling requiring Alight Solutions LLC to provide requested documents from Jan. 1, 2015, to the present to determine compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The court soundly rejected Alight’s arguments challenging the department’s subpoena power, affirmed the department has broad subpoena power and found the department may “investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even just because it wants assurance that it is not.”
“Federal law provides the Secretary of Labor with the authority to issue subpoenas to investigate compliance with laws enforced by the department,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Christine Heri in Chicago. “The department can require the submission of documents, records and electronic data deemed necessary for its investigation. The department will use all the tools at its disposal to determine whether the laws it enforces are being violated.”
The department filed its petition for subpoena enforcement against Alight Solutions LLC on April 6, 2020, after the company refused to comply with the department’s subpoena to provide documents. The documents relate to EBSA’s investigation of unauthorized distributions allegedly made from Alight’s clients’ ERISA-plan accounts after Alight incurred cybersecurity breaches.
“Complying with U.S. Department of Labor subpoenas is mandatory,” said Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Director Jeffrey Monhart in Chicago. “The Employee Benefits Security Administration is charged with protecting the integrity of employee benefit plans and ensuring those that service such accounts comply with the law and protect employees’ assets from misuse.”
Learn more about EBSA.
Walsh. V. Alight Solutions No. 20-cv-02138.