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News Release

Ohio Trustees Sued By Labor Department For Failure To Diversify Plan Assets

Phone Number: 606.578.4680

Three trustees of the J.W. Harris Co., Inc., Profit Sharing Plan in Cincinnati, Ohio, failed to diversify the investments of the plan to minimize risk of large losses, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are trustees Joseph W. and Gordon L. Harris, Lawrence S. Glaser and the company J. W. Harris Co., Inc.

According to the lawsuit, the trustees allegedly concentrated up to 30 percent of plan money in Merck common stock in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). As of March 31, 1992, the plan held shares of Merck common stock with a market value of $2,361,356, which represented 30 percent of the plans's total assets of $7,780,521. The company was charged with failing to correct the improper actions of the trustees.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the trustees to diversify the plan investments in accordance to ERISA and reimburse the plan with interest for any losses that resulted for breaches committed.

The case resulted from an investigation by the department's Cincinnati Regional Office of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration into violations of ERISA.

The complaint was filed on June 4 in federal district court in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Reich v. J.W. Harris Co., Inc. et al
Civil Action No. C-1-96-568

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
June 5, 1996
Release Number
V-212 -CINN