Brian L. Gaj
Brian is counsel in the firm's Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation practice group. He has more than 25 years of experience advising clients on all aspects of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), including defined benefit plans, multiemployer plans, 401(k) plans and fiduciary duties. Brian represents large corporations, delivering proactive, practical guidance to satisfy clients' business objectives and compliance obligations.
Following law school, he worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Albert J. Engel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Brian is admitted to practice in Michigan and Ohio.
Career highlights include the following:
- Negotiated with IRS National Office to obtain favorable IRS determination letter for cash balance plan without conceding on $60 million issue
- Identified a $17 million multiemployer withdrawal liability assessment issue with Central States Pension Fund and obtained successful resolution.
- Provided litigation support and analysis to lump sum defined benefit plan litigation, which litigator valued at $10 million
- Reviewed and negotiated side letters for $100s of millions of private hedge fund investments by ERISA pension plans, including comments that led to restructuring of the funds to address ERISA concerns
- Assisted freight service company in “bet-the-company” representation of withdrawal liability assessment, including filing appeal and arbitration and obtaining settlement that kept company in business
- Extraordinary service and judgment for every day matters, including: (i) drafting pension and 401(k) plan documents, summary plan descriptions, participant communications and claim denials, (ii) preparing regulatory submissions including IRS determination letter filings, private letter ruling requests, and EPCRS submissions, (iii) counseling on pension and 401(k) plan corrections, (v) advising on fiduciary and prohibited transaction matters, and (iv) counseling clients on Internal Revenue Code and ERISA aspects of employer stock contributions to defined benefit plans, lump sum windows and de-risking pension investments.
- American Bar Association