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News Release

Labor Department Sues Texas Company Executives For Violating Employee Benefit Rights

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Today the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Houston-based Donovan Business Systems, Inc. and its president and former executive vice president for allegedly firing two employees when one of them questioned administration of the company’s health plan.

Donovan Benefit Systems, Inc. is in the business of providing its clients with administrative services for the clients’ self-funded group health plans. The company serves as the plan administrator of its own health plan as well.

The department alleges that the company and two corporate executives, James D. Baker and Kathleen Ross, violated rights of two employees which are protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The law explicitly prohibits the discharge, fine, suspension, expulsion, discipline or discrimination against any participant or beneficiary for, among other things, exercising their rights under a plan.

According to its lawsuit, the Labor Department alleges that Mara Wisniewski and her husband Joe Wisniewski were fired from the company when Ms. Wisniewski questioned company officials about checks for medical claims issued by the company to her health care providers that were returned by the bank for insufficient funds.

The department is seeking to have the defendants barred from future violations of the relevant section of ERISA, to pay the Wisniewskis back wages and lost benefits, with interest, and to reinstate Mara Wisniewski or, alternatively, to pay her additional restitution in the form of “front” pay.

The complaint is the result of an investigation conducted by the department’s Dallas Regional Office of the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, responsible for administering the federal pension law. It was filed Jan. 13, 2000 in federal district court in Houston, Tex..

(Civil Action No. 1234567890)

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
January 14, 2000
Release Number