Tellabs: Retirement plan participants claim substantial losses from employer

Plan participants asserted breach of fiduciary duty against defendants for maintaining company stock as an investment plan option when it was no longer a prudent investment. Kessler Topaz was co-lead counsel in only the fourth ERISA case of this type to ever go to trial.

Following a substantial and sustained decline in Tellabs’ operations and stock price, we argued that plan participants suffered significant losses because the defendants failed to 1) prudently and loyally manage the plan’s assets, 2) provide complete and accurate information to the plan’s participants, and 3) avoid conflicts of interest. 

Kessler Topaz zealously prosecuted the case over the course of several years, deposing numerous witnesses, reviewing millions of pages of documents, obtaining class certification and defeating defendants’ motion to dismiss as well as multiple motions for summary judgment.

When defendants refused to participate in meaningful settlement talks, we brought the case to trial in federal court in Chicago.  Over the course of a three-week period, the parties presented into evidence over 500 trial exhibits and the testimony of twenty fact witnesses and three expert witnesses.  After extensive post-trial submissions, the Court concluded that the greater weight of the evidence favored defendants but recognized that Plaintiffs had demonstrated “a solid basis” for bringing their claims.