Practice Group | Bassford Remele


For more than two decades, Bassford Remele has handled significant litigation related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). We have extensive experience with a wide variety of ERISA matters, from claims alleging a trustee’s breach of fiduciary duty, to class-action lawsuits against company owners and directors related to employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) transactions, to representing clients in an investigation by the United States Department of Labor.

ERISA law is patterned after the common law of trusts, and our extensive background handling trust and estates litigation gives us unique insight into handling ERISA claims. Our experience with several especially large and complex ERISA cases gives us the know-how to represent our clients effectively and efficiently.

Representative Cases

Represented directors and executives of a manufacturing company in a United States Department of Labor claim arising out of the sale of company stock to an ESOP.

Represented the former chairman, chief executive officer, and selling-shareholder in a class-action ESOP litigation, winning summary judgment from the district court for the firm’s client on the eve of trial. (Following separate trials on liability and damages, the plaintiff class was awarded more than $15 million in relief. Judgment in favor of the firm’s client was unchallenged on appeal.) Chesemore v. All. Holdings, Inc., 276 F.R.D. 506 (W.D. Wis. 2011); 886 F. Supp. 2d 1007 (W.D. Wis. 2012); aff'd sub nom. Chesemore v. Fenkell, 829 F.3d 803 (7th Cir. 2016).

Represented a manufacturer, obtaining summary judgment in a claim for declaratory relief and alleged breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA.

Defended a global industrial manufacturer, obtaining a defense verdict in a claim alleging benefits owed under a Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan (SERP).

Represented an educational technology company, obtaining summary judgment in a claim for alleged violations of ERISA by the co-trustees of the company's 401(k) plan, as well as a claimed delay in the payment of plan contributions.

Comments from clients and the legal community:

This has been a long complex ERISA legal action that has recently been finalized. It is my opinion that we were provided solid legal advice and direction. It was very helpful to have continuity of attorneys throughout the 6 year process. (Owner, Manufacturing Company)

These comments were collected as part of the U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" research process.