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MEP Excessive Fee Suit Ready to Settle


The parties in an excessive fee suit involving a multiple employer plan (MEP) have come to terms—almost.

As noted in the headline, the plaintiff this time is one Kimario Anderson, who was employed by Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, LLC—an employer that participated in the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan, a multiple employer plan. The plan covers about 19,000 participants, and as of December 2019 had nearly $800 million in assets spread across 24 investment options, including a Coca-Cola Common Stock Fund.

The suit, filed Feb. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, made a number of allegations common to this brand of litigation, but at its core alleging that the plan fiduciaries “could have leveraged the Plan’s assets to qualify for lower-cost versions of the same investments, chosen less costly and equally or better-performing investment options for the Plan, and used the Plan’s size to reduce recordkeeping fees.”

Now, as to that settlement, the parties have notified the court “that they reached a settlement in principle during the mediation conducted on October 14, 2022, with mediator Robert Meyer.” That said, the parties also comment that they “are working together in good faith on one remaining detail for the settlement, and it may be necessary to invoke the assistance of the mediator to resolve that remaining open issue, but neither side expects the issue to prevent a full settlement of the claims and issues presented in this case.”

Stay tuned.