People: D. Ward Kallstrom, Partner

Photo of D. Ward Kallstrom, Partner

D. Ward Kallstrom

Partner

San Francisco
Direct: (415) 732-1107
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Mr. Kallstrom is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department in the San Francisco office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and a member of the Employee Benefits Litigation Practice Group.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Kallstrom’s practice has focused on employee benefits fiduciary advice, claims, and litigation and on compliance counseling for multiemployer plans.  He has arbitrated and litigated hundreds of cases, including trials and appeals.  His litigation practice primarily consists of federal court class actions.  He has been lead counsel on virtually every type of ERISA case.

Mr. Kallstrom has made hundreds of public presentations on a wide variety of ERISA and related labor and employment law topics, including national health care reform; health care provider reimbursement litigation; plan fee and expense litigation; medical plan reimbursement litigation; benefit claims procedures and related litigation; fiduciary responsibility; avoiding litigation over fiduciary miscommunications; employer stock fund litigation; LTD litigation; ERISA preemption; contingent worker/independent contractor claims and litigation; corporate downsizing litigation; managed care litigation; retiree medical cutback litigation; negotiating health care cost containment systems; settlements in employee benefits disputes; employee benefit issues in bankruptcy; and the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege.

Mr. Kallstrom served as a Senior Editor of Employee Benefits Law and its annual supplements from 1989 through 2006 and as Management Co-Chair of the Board of Senior Editors from 2005 to 2006.  He served as Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law from 1991-1994 and as Chair of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits from 1993-1994.

Mr. Kallstrom is a partner in the Labor & Employment Department in the San Francisco office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and a member of the Employee Benefits Litigation Practice Group.

For more than 30 years, Mr. Kallstrom’s practice has focused on employee benefits fiduciary advice, claims, and litigation and on compliance counseling for multiemployer plans.  He has arbitrated and litigated hundreds of cases, including trials and appeals.  His litigation practice primarily consists of federal court class actions.  He has been lead counsel on virtually every type of ERISA case.

Mr. Kallstrom has made hundreds of public presentations on a wide variety of ERISA and related labor and employment law topics, including national health care reform; health care provider reimbursement litigation; plan fee and expense litigation; medical plan reimbursement litigation; benefit claims procedures and related litigation; fiduciary responsibility; avoiding litigation over fiduciary miscommunications; employer stock fund litigation; LTD litigation; ERISA preemption; contingent worker/independent contractor claims and litigation; corporate downsizing litigation; managed care litigation; retiree medical cutback litigation; negotiating health care cost containment systems; settlements in employee benefits disputes; employee benefit issues in bankruptcy; and the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege.

Mr. Kallstrom served as a Senior Editor of Employee Benefits Law and its annual supplements from 1989 through 2006 and as Management Co-Chair of the Board of Senior Editors from 2005 to 2006.  He served as Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law from 1991-1994 and as Chair of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits from 1993-1994.

Education

  • J.D., Duke University, cum laude (1977)
    Duke Law Journal
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, with highest honors (1972)

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals, Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • United States District Courts, Northern, Southern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California
  • California Supreme Court

Affiliations

  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Fellow)
  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (Member of Founding Board of Governors and Charter Fellow)
  • Council of the Section of Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association (Management Member), 2003-2012

Representative Complex ERISA Cases

  • Saks, et al. v. ILWU-PMA Welfare Plan (C.D. Cal. 2013) (summary judgment against cosmetic surgeon on his $5.1M collection action and Plan’s $500K claw-back claim based on fraudulent billing)
  • South Gate Surgical Center, et al. v. ILWU-PMA Welfare Plan (N.D. Cal. 2013) (settlement of claim of outpatient surgery center and affiliated providers for unpaid and underpaid medical bills and of Plan’s claw-back claim)
  • Vincent, et al. v. Reser, et al. (N.D. Cal. 2012) (settlement of class action claim for ESOP’s losses due to alleged negligent valuation of employer stock and implementation of stock purchase agreement)
  • Vaughn, et al. v. Bay Environmental Management, Inc., et al. (N.D. Cal. 2010) (settlement of class action claim alleging mismagement of plan investments during sale of plan sponsor and termination of plan)
  • Simpson, et al. v. Firemen’s Fund Insurance Co., et al. (N.D. Cal. 2009) (settlement of class action benefits interference (ERISA Section 510 and HIPAA) claim over alleged changes to status of disabled former employees to deprive them of medical benefits)
  • Kanawi, et al. v. Bechtel Corp., et al. (9th Cir. 2009) (settlement of class action claims that 401(k) plan administrators breached fiduciary duties and engaged in prohibited transactions in agreements with service providers for fees and expenses charged to plan)
  • Wachtel, et al. v. Health Net, Inc., et al. (D.N.J. 2008) (settlement of multiple nationwide class actions alleging ERISA and RICO violations in reimbursement of out-of-network charges by insured medical plans)
  • In re Washington Corps. ERISA Litigation (D. Mont. 2007) (settlement of 401(k)/ESOP stock-drop litigation)
  • Renfrew, et al. v. Toms Sierra, Inc., et al. (E.D. Cal. 2004) (settlement of class action alleging prohibited transactions and other fiduciary breaches in purchase of employer stock by employee stock ownership plan)
  • In re Global Crossing ERISA Litigation (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (settlement of 401(k) stock-drop fraud case)
  • Reimering v. California State Automobile Ass’n (9th Cir. 2003) (affirming summary judgment on “serious consideration” early retirement incentive case)
  • Keehner, et al. v. American President Lines, Inc., et al. (N.D. Cal. 2002) (settlement of “accrual cutback” class action arising from phase-out of cost of living adjustments)
  • In Re ILWU-PMA Welfare Plan (Arb. 2001) (upholding 1991 reservation of rights amendment to summary plan description of multiemployer medical plan, mooting potential $2.5B in unfunded retiree medical liabilities)
  • Bronk, et al. v. U S West, Inc., et al. (10th Cir. 2000) (affirming summary judgment against class of “leased” workers seeking elligibility for pension, 401(k), medical, and other welfare plans)
  • Cosgrove, et al. v. Circle K Corp., et al. (9th Cir. 1998) (affirming trial verdict for fiduciaries of 401(k) plan who had sold plan interests in employer real property back to employer with knowledge that it would immediately resell them for multiples of the purchase price)
  • Maez, et al. v. U S West, Inc., et al. (10th Cir. 1996) (affirming summary judgment against class of former employees in “serious consideration” case)
  • Werner, et al. v. Morgan Equipment, Inc., et al. (9th Cir. 1992) (settlement of ESOP dispute arising from delayed valuation of company stock due to insurrection in Papua New Guinea)
  • Wemco Div. of Envirotech Corp. v. IAM Pension Fund (9th Cir. 1987) (affirming summary judgment for multiemployer pension fund in withdrawal liability dispute)
  • Jung, et al. v. FMC Corp., et al. (9th Cir. 1986) (affirming summary judgment for plan sponsor of unpublished severance plan)
  • Gordon, et al. v. ILWU-PMA Benefit Funds (9th Cir. 1980) (seminal case importing “arbitrary or capricous” standard of review from LMRA cases to ERISA cases; upholding summary judgment for plan)

Accolades

  • Recognized as one of the Top Attorneys in Northern California by San Francisco Magazine (August 2017)
  • Recognized as a Top 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorney (Employee Benefits and ERISA) by Human Resource Executive (2017)
  • Recognized as a leading lawyer in the National Practice of ERISA Litigation in Chambers USA (since 2007)
  • Management Member, Council of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law (2003-12)
  • Northern California Superlawyer (since 2003)
  • Charter Fellow, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (since 2001), and Founding Member of the Board of Governors (2000-07)
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (since 1999)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (since 2014)
  • Best Lawyers of America -- Featured for:
    • 2018 Lawyer of the Year -- Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law in San Francisco
    • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
    • Litigation -- ERISA
    • 2016 Litigation -- ERISA Lawyer of the Year for San Francisco