Overview

William J. Delany is a labor and employment attorney in Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office who focuses his practice on defending clients against Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) class actions and complex employment discrimination lawsuits. He represents clients against class action claims challenging 401(k) savings plan administration, stock drop litigation and fiduciary duty issues that arise from retiree medical and other employee benefit plan modification and/or termination. Mr. Delany counsels employee benefit plan administrators and trustees on ERISA and breach of fiduciary claims.

In addition, Mr. Delany represents employers in labor and employment cases in U.S. federal and state courts and before agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. He handles executive employment disputes, non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants, employment discrimination claims, and traditional labor claims that involve the labor-management relationship and individual employee rights. He also advises employers on executive misconduct and guides them through fraud investigations.

Experience

  • Multiple-week trial of ERISA class action brought against insurance company issuer of 401(k) investment and recordkeeping platform; settled on favorable terms pending ruling
  • Defended 401(k) plan in multiple week trial of ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty arising out of fees and expenses incurred by plan
  • Pursued lawsuit on behalf of pension plan and third-party plan administrator to recover pension overpayments resulting from a significant calculation error; court granted summary judgment in clients' favor on all claims and primary holdings affirmed on appeal
  • Defended ERISA class action lawsuits challenging life insurance companies' stable value investment options offered in 401(k) and 403(b) plans, including claims of breach of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions
  • Defended ERISA class action lawsuit challenging insurance company's use of retained asset accounts for payment of life insurance benefits
  • Defended large insurance annuity provider against ERISA breaches of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions claims arising out of offering of proprietary funds in 401(k) plan
  • Defended financial services firm against ERISA breaches of fiduciary duty and prohibited transactions claims arising out of offering of proprietary funds in 401(k) plans
  • Defended multiple employers/plan sponsors in ERISA fees and expenses putative class actions
  • Defended employers/plan sponsors in ERISA "stock drop" class actions challenging offering of company stock in retirement plans
  • Defended employer/plan sponsor in lawsuit challenging termination of retiree medical benefits; motion to dismiss granted
  • Defended pension plan service provider in lawsuit challenging funding obligations of pension plan
  • Pursued ERISA lawsuit brought by an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) against former ESOP CEO for recovery of plan assets and for ERISA prohibited transactions; defended ESOP against state law claims brought by CEO for severance pay
  • Defended insurance companies in class action lawsuits challenging methods and amounts of payment of health insurance claims, including claims brought by medical providers with purported "assignments" from plan participants and claims regarding the calculation of service provider expenses, including disputed calculations of usual, customary and reasonable medical reimbursements
  • Defended employers/plan sponsors in ERISA claims for severance benefits
  • Defended employers/plan sponsors in class action lawsuits alleging ERISA anti-cutback and benefit claims arising out of amendment of pension plan benefits
  • Defended insurance company in ERISA class action brought on behalf of all claimants denied long-term disability benefits; successfully opposed class certification and class-wide discovery; secured favorable settlement in favor of client on remaining individual claim

  • Defended employer in multiple-week trial of gender discrimination and retaliation claims
  • Represented client in class action gender disparate impact claim alleging discriminatory impact of time-in-position requirements
  • Represented client in multimillion-dollar action by former executive alleging breach of contract claim for stock option compensation and a defamation claim
  • Represented client in AAA commercial arbitration proceeding brought by former executive seeking multimillion-dollar recovery under executive employment agreement
  • Obtained jury verdict in favor of client on misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of non-compete terms brought against former employee
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction in connection with trade secret misappropriation/interference with contractual relations claims against a competitor that hired away several key employees in violation of employee non-solicitation covenants; secured $1.2 million settlement in favor of client
  • Defense of employee non-solicitation enforcement action seeking to prohibit employment of senior level executives; successfully opposed preliminary injunction proceedings
  • Defended client in complex labor dispute involving hundreds of claimants; substantially reduced the number of claimants in the action and settled matter on favorable terms
  • Won defense verdict on all counts of plaintiff's race discrimination lawsuit

Credentials

Education
  • Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, J.D.
  • James Madison University, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Memberships
  • American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Villanova Law Review, Editor-in-Chief
Honors & Awards
  • Who's Who Legal: Labor, Employment & Benefits
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Labor & Employment

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News