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Stephen P. Lucke, Esq.

Stephen P. Lucke, Esq.

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General Biography
Practice Areas
Banking and Finance
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Business and Commercial Litigation
Health Care
Insurance
Life Sciences
Securities
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Stephen P. Lucke, Esq., joins JAMS in Minneapolis after nearly 40 years as a business litigation partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where he developed a nationwide practice focused on ERISA retirement and health plan disputes. His complex litigation and class action practice included challenges to investments and fees in 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit plan management, employee stock ownership plans/company stock investments, benefit accruals in violation of age discrimination rules, transactions that violate prohibited transaction rules, Department of Labor audits and health plan administration disputes. He has also served as lead counsel in business, insurance, intellectual property and employment disputes.

Mr. Lucke is known as a skillful practitioner and strategic thinker, bringing decades of trial experience to his JAMS practice.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Qualified under Minnesota State ADR Rule 114 (Civil Roster)
  • Appointed as a neutral by Hennepin County courts
  • Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS, 2024

The matters in which Mr. Lucke served as lead counsel include the following:

Representative Matters

  • ERISA and Benefits Litigation
    • Retirement Plan Litigation

      • Dismissal of class action claims filed by ERISA defined benefit plan participants against U.S. Bank and its plan fiduciaries alleging losses of $750 million arising from its investments in proprietary funds and 100% equities-strategy; Thole v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 873 F.3d 617 (8th Cir. 2017), aff’d, 139 S.Ct. 2771 (2020) (5–4 decision on constitutional standing grounds)
      • Granting in part and denying in part motion to dismiss claims alleging that 401(k) and 403(b) plan fiduciaries breached their duties in selecting and retaining expensive, underperforming mutual funds; Schave v. CentraCare Health System, 2023 WL 1071606 (D. Minn. Jan. 27, 2023)
      • Summary judgment in class action challenging offsets to pension benefits, including extensive evidence and expert testimony involving the interplay between a defined benefit plan and Social Security/workers’ compensation benefits); Leighton v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 2022 WL 980301 (D. Minn. Mar. 31, 2022)
      • Dismissal of ERISA class action claims that fiduciaries of nation’s fifth-largest employee stock option plan (ESOP) breached their duties with respect to the valuation of the company’s stock; Vigeant v. Meek, 352 F. Supp. 3d 890 (D. Minn. 2018), aff’d, 953 F.3d 1022 (8th Cir. 2020)
      • Co-counsel in obtaining “rare and unprecedented” dismissal of class action claims against sponsor and fiduciaries of 401(k) plan alleging fiduciary breaches in plan’s investment in mutual funds that sponsor’s affiliate managed; Meiners v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2017 WL 2303968 (D. Minn. May 25, 2017), aff’d, 898 F.3d 820 (8th Cir. Aug. 3, 2018)
      • Affirmance of judgment against defendant class of 2,500 airline pilots declaring that post-bankruptcy target benefit plan complied with benefit accrual provisions under the ADEA and ERISA; Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Phillips, 675 F.3d 1126 (8th Cir. 2012)
      • Co-counsel representing fiduciaries of Allina Health 401(k) and 403(b) plans in 401(k) fee claims alleging inappropriate mismanagement of brokerage window and selection of investment options; Larson v. Allina Health System, 350 F. Supp. 3d 780 (D. Minn. 2018)
      • Dismissal of class action claims alleging age discrimination in retirement plan design; Mitchell-White v. Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines, 2011 WL 671630 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2011), aff'd, 446 Fed. App’x. 316 (2d Cir. 2011)
      • Defended against class actions seeking recovery of losses to 401(k) plan investments in company stock when employer’s share price fell, including Hastings v. Wilson, 516 F.3d 1055 (8th Cir. 2008); Morrison v. MoneyGram International, Inc., 607 F. Supp. 2d 1033 (D. Minn. 2009); and In Re ADC Telecommunications ERISA Litigation, 2005 WL 2250782 (D. Minn. Sept. 15, 2005)
      • Amicus counsel for the American Benefits Council in support of plan sponsor defending against class action claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty in the calculation of pension benefits
      • In challenge to “proprietary” funds offered by affiliates of financial institutions, obtained summary judgment on prohibited transaction claim and denial of motion for mandatory class; Figas v. Wells Fargo & Company, 2010 WL 2943155 (D. Minn. April 6, 2010)
      • Represented employers defending against claims for ERISA severance benefits, including Johnson v. U.S. Bancorp, 424 F.3d 734 (8th Cir. 2004) and Anderson v. U.S. Bancorp, 484 F.3d 1027 (8th Cir. 2007)
      • Summary judgment and denial of class certification on behalf of fiduciaries in nationwide class action seeking interest on payments of benefits under welfare plan; Jackson v. Fortis Benefits Insurance Company, 105 F. Supp.2d 1055 (D. Minn. 2000), aff’d, 245 F.3d 748 (8th Cir. 2001)
      • Dismissal of claims that employer violated age discrimination prohibitions in design of pension plan; Mahoney v. Northwest Airlines Pension Plan for Contract Employees, 2004 WL 114946 (D. Minn.)
      • Obtained arbitration award increasing pension of senior executive of major manufacturer
      • Represented Fortune 500 companies and individuals in DOL audits

      Health and Welfare Plan Litigation

      • Defended pharmacy benefit manager against class action claims on behalf of individuals who purchased the EpiPen auto-injector device, obtaining rulings denying consolidation with multidistrict antitrust litigation, dismissing ERISA-prohibited transaction claims and denying certification of nationwide class; In re EpiPen ERISA Litig., 276 F.Supp.3d 1384 (JPML); 341 F. Supp. 3d 1015 (D. Minn. 2018); 2020 WL 4501925 (D. Minn. Aug. 5, 2020)
      • Defended against first nationwide class action alleging violations of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and Affordable Care Act; New York State Psychiatric Ass’n v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 980 F. Supp. 2d 527 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), rev’d in part and aff’d in part, 798 F.3d 125 (2nd Cir.)
      • Represented plaintiff employee association to recover wrongfully withheld premium reserve from insurer; 3M Employees' Benefit Trust Ass'n v. Connecticut General Life Ins. Co., 2003 WL 124027 (D. Minn. Jan. 9, 2003)
      • Won dismissal of “mass action” seeking payment for obesity treatments from over 300 health plans and their claims administrator, described by the judge as “perhaps the most complex case pending in [the United States District Court for] the Central District of California”); Almont Ambulatory Care Center v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 2016 WL 2851298 (C.D. Cal. May 13, 2016), aff’d, 780 Fed.Appx. 395 (9th Cir.2019); See also id. 99 F. Supp.3d 1110 (C.D. Cal. 2015) (granting in part and denying in part motion to dismiss fiduciary and statutory claims); 121 F. Supp.3d 950 (C.D. Cal. 2015) (denying motion to dismiss counterclaim to recover amounts paid to Lap-Band providers) 
      • Dismissal of class claims alleging violations of state statutes regarding patient responsibility for chiropractic services against five health insurers; Larson v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., 723 F.3d 905 (7th Cir. 2013)
      • Reversal of district court decision and compelling arbitration of class challenge to “smoker’s exclusion” in business’s health plan; Franke v. Poly-America Medical and Dental Plan, 555 F.3d 656 (8th Cir. 2009)
      • Summary judgment for employer on fiduciary, discrimination and RICO claims brought by 67 former employees who alleged that a series of complex corporate transactions and downsizing decisions entitled them to over $50 million in severance pay and other damages
      • Represented various TPAs in claims alleging improper administration of group health plan benefits
      • Represented insurers in over 100 first-party claims seeking benefits under individual and group disability policies 
  • Business and Commercial Litigation
      • Obtained dismissal of claims alleging that pharmacy breached state common law duties for refusing to fill a prescription for ivermectin to treat COVID-19; see Salier v. Walmart, Inc., 76 F.4th 796 (8th Cir. 2023)
      • Defended against class action claims that scanning errors caused thousands of SAT scores to be incorrect; Russo v. NCS Pearson and the College Board., 462 F.Supp.2d 981 (D. Minn. 2006)
      • After commencing declaratory judgment action and bringing preliminary injunction motion, successfully resolved contract dispute between copyright owner of psychological tests and foreign business that translated and adapted those tests for the Spanish market
      • Obtained orders after trials before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) declaring trademark registration rights in favor of client; OTI v. GE Osmonics, Inc., 2004 TTAB Lexis 188 (March 30, 2004), 2004 TTAB Lexis 30 (Jan. 29, 2004)
      • Obtained judgments in favor of state insurance guaranty funds in disputes involving claims and assessments; Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund v. Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation, 704 N.W. 2d 44 (Wis. App. 2005); Minnesota Insurance Guaranty Association v. Integra Telecom, Inc., 697 N.W. 2d 223 (Minn. App. 2005)
      • Represented various insurers and businesses in responding to civil investigation demands and administrative subpoenas
      • Served as personal counsel for insureds in various class actions and major claims seeking coverage and reimbursement of defense costs

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Nationally Recommended for ERISA Litigation by Legal 500 (2022) and Chambers USA (2018–2023)
  • Best Lawyers in America©, 2010–2023; Lawyer of the Year, Litigation – ERISA, 2013, 2017
  • Former Co-Chair of the Ethics Committee, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee, 2016–2022
  • Adjunct Professor, Complex Litigation, University of St. Thomas School of Law, 2023–2024
  • Minneapolis Trial Co-Chair (2009–2014), Health Litigation Practice Group Leader (2019–2023) and Board of Directors (2018–2022), Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Selected Publications and Presentations

Selected News and Press Mentions

Community Involvement

  • Volunteer Attorney, Children’s Law Center (Past Board Member) and the Lower Sioux Indian Community (legal representation concerning children in foster care)
  • Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Past Board Member (Twin Cities chapter of national program that prepares predominantly diverse students from low-income families for college through an innovative corporate internship program) 
  • Chair, Twin Cities Regional Council, Ignatian Volunteer Corps (service organization matching retired professionals with nonprofits)
  • Past Board Member and President, House of Charity (providing housing, meals and chemical dependency counseling)

Background and Education

  • Trial Partner and Associate, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, 1984–2023
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1983
    • Managing Editor, Georgetown University Law Journal (Volume 82)
  • B.A., magna cum laude, College of the Holy Cross, 1980
    • Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Nu

Disclaimer

This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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