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News Release

U.S. Labor Department Sues Chatsworth, Georgia, Trucking Company Seeking Payment of $85,000 in Unpaid Health Benefit Claims

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Atlanta - The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Chatsworth, Georgia-based Bryant Transportation Inc., and two company officials, seeking payment of more than $85,000 in unpaid employee health benefit claims.

“This action demonstrates the Labor Department’s commitment to protect the benefits of America’s workers,” said Howard Marsh, regional director in Atlanta for the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).

Bryant Transportation provided health insurance to employees and their dependents through a self-insured health benefit plan that covered approximately 80 participants.

The department’s lawsuit alleges that beginning in May 2002, the company and two of its officers, E. Lester Bryant and Leesa Cardin, violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) when they failed to prudently select and monitor the plan and its administrator, Meridian Benefits Inc., and to ensure that the company paid all claims. At the time of the alleged improper actions, Bryant was the company’s president and CEO and Cardin was vice president. Both served as fiduciaries for the health benefits plan.

According to the suit, Meridian Benefits unsuccessfully attempted to collect from the defendants more than $85,000 to cover the shortfall between the amount actually submitted and the amount of incurred claims and expenses.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Rome, Georgia, the suit seeks an order requiring the defendants to pay all legitimate unpaid claims incurred under the plan and owed as a result of their breaches of fiduciary duties. The suit also seeks to bar Bryant and Cardin from future service as fiduciaries to any plan covered by ERISA.

Employers and workers can reach the EBSA regional office in Atlanta at 404.562.2156 or toll-free at 1.866.444.EBSA (3272) for help with problems relating to private-sector retirement and health plans. In fiscal year 2005, EBSA achieved monetary results of $1.7 billion related to pension, 401(k), health and other benefits for millions of American workers and their families.

(Chao vs. Bryant Transportation, Inc.)
Civil Action File Number 4:06-cv-00249-HLM

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department's Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7765 or TTY 202.693.7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.

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

Contact Name: Dan Fuqua
Phone Number: 404.562.2078

Employee Benefits Security Administration
December 7, 2006
Release Number
06-2036-ATL (281)