Bob Eccles is a partner in O'Melveny's Washington, DC office. His practice focuses on ERISA litigation and in providing advice pertaining to Title I of ERISA and other statutes affecting employee benefit plans. Bob joined the firm in 1988 after 15 years as an attorney for the federal government, including five years as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and 10 years as an ERISA attorney at the Department of Labor (DOL). From 1982 to 1988, he was Associate Solicitor of Labor in charge of DOL attorneys who conducted litigation and provided legal advice under ERISA.
Bob has provided advice or handled litigation under ERISA and related statutes for a broad range of clients including U.S, Trust, Fidelity Investments, CIGNA, Humana, Ford, Verizon, and many other corporations, institutions, and individuals.
In addition, Bob represents individual fiduciaries and institutions in dealings with federal ERISA agencies and provides advice to corporations, employee benefit plans, and financial institutions that are regular clients of the Firm. He appears regularly in federal district and appellate courts throughout the country and has argued before the US Supreme Court.
Bob was named among the top 10 Labor and Employment lawyers in the Washington, DC area by Legal Times magazine as part of its "Leading Lawyers" series. Bob also was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Employee Benefits law. Chambers USA also selected Bob as a Leading Lawyer in Employee Benefits/Litigation.
Illustrative Professional Experience
- Represented U.S. Trust in its successful trial and appeal in Keach v. U.S. Trust, a case claiming breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan
- Represented the DOL in numerous precedent-setting suits under ERISA's fiduciary duty provisions, including Donovan v. Bierwirth, and Freund v. M&I Bank
- Represented Humana in litigation challenging the handling of provider discounts (Forsyth v. Humana), and in multi-district litigation attacking managed care practices and disclosures
- Represented Ford in the successful defense of an action challenging the treatment of benefits in divestiture (Andes v. Ford Motor Company)
- Represented CIGNA companies in securing dismissal of claims that alleged that nondisclosure of physician compensation arrangements violated ERISA fiduciary duties (Weiss v. CIGNA and Ehlmann v. Kaiser Foundation)
- Represented executives of Columbia-HCA (now HCA-The Healthcare Company), who prevailed against claims in Landgraff v. Columbia v. HCA that they breached fiduciary duties by failing to sell company stock held by the Stock Bonus Plan
- Harvard University, J.D., 1972
- Harvard University, A.B., History, 1969: magna cum laude
- Admitted, District of Columbia; Wisconsin
- Admitted to Practice, US Supreme Court; numerous federal appeals and district courts
- Member, Employee Benefits Committees of American Bar Association Sections on Labor and Employment Law, Taxation, and Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law
- Co-Chair, ERISA Litigation and ERISA Fiduciary seminars for West LegalWorks
- Co-Editor, ERISA Litigation Reporter
- Author, "Fiduciary Litigation Under ERISA"
- Speaker, ABA, ALI-ABA, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, PLI, and other programs on ERISA litigation, preemption, and fiduciary issues
- Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel