FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Marc I. Machiz

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

Philadelphia, PA, USA


Marc Machiz, a Partner at Cohen Milstein, joined the Firm in 2000 and is the head of the Employee Benefits (ERISA) practice group. He is the resident Partner of the Philadelphia office.

Mr. Machiz litigates ERISA class actions involving a range of benefits cases including inappropriate pension plan investments, the inappropriate investment in company stock by 401(k) plans, discharges to interfere with pension rights and illegal plan terminations including, among others, Hans v. Tharaldson et al.(D.N.D.) (purchase by ESOP of employer stock allegedly imprudently and for more than adequate consideration); Mehling, et al. v. New York Life Insurance Co., et al., (E.D. Pa.) (investment in allegedly overpriced mutual funds proprietary to the sponsor) and In re Williams Company ERISA Litigation (N.D. Okla) (investment by 401(k) plan in allegedly inflated company stock); In re Dynegy ERISA Litigation (S.D. Texas) (same); Simpson v. Firemen's Fund Insurance Co. (N.D. Cal.) (discharge of disabled employees allegedly to interfere with their attainment of health benefits); Stoeffels v. SBC Communications, Inc., (S.D. Texas). (termination of retiree telephone concession alleged to be a pension plan); Wagener v. SBC Communications Inc. Pension Plan (D.D.C.) (alleged failure to pay promised pension benefits); Zhu v. Fujitsu, N.D. Cal. (alleged vesting violation); Banyai v. Mazur (S.D.N,Y.) (alleged illegal transfer of fund assets). Mr. Machiz has submitted amicus curiae briefs to the Supreme Court and lower courts on behalf of the Pension Rights Center and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He consults with the AFL-CIO on state legislation to expand healthcare coverage so as to minimize the chance that such legislation will be held preempted, and he represents Fiduciary Counselors. Inc. in evaluating the adequacy of both ERISA and Securities settlements on behalf of plans participating in settlements with their plans sponsors and the officers of the plan sponsors, including evaluation of settlements in the Enron Securities litigation.

He joined the Plan Benefits Security Division ("PBS") of the Office of the Solicitor of Labor as a trial attorney in 1978, and was appointed Assistant Counsel for Fiduciary Litigation in 1982. At the start of 1984, he joined Beins, Axelrod and Osborne, P.C. practicing general labor and ERISA law on behalf of unions and multiemployer plans. In 1986 he returned to the Department of Labor as Counsel for General Litigation at PBS, and from 1988 to 2000 held the position of Associate Solicitor, heading the Division. As Associate Solicitor, Mr. Machiz was the Department of Labor's chief ERISA lawyer charged with responsibility for all enforcement litigation brought by the Secretary of Labor under the statute, which governs the vast majority of privately sponsored health, welfare and pension plans. He was also responsible for all legal advice under the statute provided to the Pension & Welfare Benefits Administration, which administers Title I of ERISA.

Mr. Machiz worked to institute the Department's innovative amicus program which aggressively advocated the Department's views throughout the judicial system on a wide range of ERISA issues ranging from the need to limit ERISA preemption of state worker and consumer protection laws to the need to strengthen participants' rights and remedies under the Act.

Mr. Machiz's expertise in ERISA has been recognized by his colleagues in the ERISA bar, who made him a Charter Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. Mr. Machiz is a frequent speaker on ERISA issues for the ABA, ALI-ABAPLI, and private seminars, and has served as plaintiffs' co-chair of a subcommittee of the Employees Benefits Committee of the ABA's Labor Section. He is also a member of the BNA Pension and Benefits Reporter Advisory Board.

Mr. Machiz has authored several articles including Understanding DOL's New Class Exemption for the Release of Claims and Extensions of Credit in Connection with Litigation, Pension & Benefits Reporter, Vol. 31, No. 2, January, 2004; and ESOPS, ERISA, and Employer Stock: A Litigator's Approach, ATLA Commercial Litigation Section Newsletter, Volume 7, Number 3 (Spring/Summer 2001).

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a B.A. in History, and received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1978.

Mr. Machiz is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

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