L. Scott Austin’s practice focuses on assisting businesses implement and maintain valuable executive compensation arrangements and employee benefits. Scott is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits group, and has offices in Dallas and Atlanta. Scott works on all legal aspects of executive compensation and employee benefits, as well as ERISA litigation matters.
His practice includes working with businesses to put in place and maintain executive employment agreements and deferred compensation arrangements, qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans. He helps lead the firm’s Health Care Reform initiative.
Scott regularly advises clients on issues involving deferred compensation (including Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A, 162(m) and 280G). He has also worked with a number of companies in designing and implementing cash balance plans and other qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans.
Scott works closely with the fiduciary administrative committees of clients’ benefit plans and helps them through the murky waters of ERISA’s fiduciary requirements. He also advises on the employee benefit aspects of corporate transactions and financings.
Scott has significant experience in agency inquiries concerning employee benefit plans, including inquiries and audits by the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
He also regularly provides substantive support to ERISA litigation matters, including Enron-like fiduciary breach litigation and retiree medical claims. Scott is also experienced in general governance matters and the securities aspects of employee benefits.
- Regularly advises benefit plan fiduciary committees with respect to their fiduciary duties under ERISA.
- Regularly assists companies in redesigning, modifying and implementing nonqualified deferred compensation plan changes to conform to relevant federal requirements, including Code sections 409A, 162(m) and 280G.
- Helped in design, implementation of complex defined benefit pension plan spin-off and termination transactions, which provided significant savings to plan sponsor and valuable benefits to employees.
- Assisted numerous companies in designing, drafting and implementing conversion of traditional defined benefit pension plan to cash balance plan.
- Assisted in designing, drafting and implementing full flexible benefits arrangements with wide variety of welfare plan options; negotiated new arrangements with third party vendors to implement changes.
- Helped design and implement HSA and HRA options under large welfare benefit plans.
- Negotiated and drafted employee benefit provisions for multi-million dollar transaction involving pension asset transfer and significant retiree medical issues.
- Advised clients on ERISA plan asset rules in connection with large venture capital financing.
- Represented client in negotiating favorable outcome in a 401(k) plan audit by Department of Labor.
- Negotiated favorable closing agreement with IRS resulting in de minimis cost to company after four-year employee plans audit.
- Advised clients and assisted in successful self-corrections and submission to IRS and DOL under the IRS EPCRS and DOL VFCP.
- Assisted in designing and drafting of a wide variety of executive compensation arrangements, including deferred compensation arrangements, equity-based arrangements (including stock option plans and restricted stock plans), split dollar life insurance arrangements, retention arrangements, change in control agreements and severance arrangements.
- Assisted in designing and drafting equity incentive arrangements for executives in connection with IPO.
- Advised company on benefits matters in connection with large going private transaction.
- Negotiated employment agreements for founders of start-up medical high tech company.
- Represented company in complex ERISA litigation involving retiree medical benefits and helped negotiate favorable settlement for client.
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