BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Gulf States Staffing and Personnel LLC of Baton Rouge, and owner Gregory Walker, for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleges that between December 2008 and March 2009, Walker and the company failed to remit employee contributions to the GSSP Short-Term Disability Plan, GSSP Long-Term Disability Plan and GSSP Dental and Vision Plan. The defendants also failed to properly administer the plans by using plan assets to benefit themselves.
“Plan officials have a duty to manage and protect employees’ benefit plans and their assets,” said Deborah Perry, regional director of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration in Dallas, which investigated the case. “Through this action, we intend to restore plan assets to the workers that earned them.”
The department’s lawsuit seeks a court order to restore all losses, with interest, to the plans, and seeks the appointment of an independent fiduciary to administer disbursements. The suit further requests the court to permanently bar Walker and the company from serving as fiduciaries to any plan governed by ERISA in the future.
GSSP provided benefit, payroll and other administrative functions for its employees, who worked at affiliated hospitals in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The affiliated hospitals were owned by Gulf States Health Services, which was the parent company of GSSP. Walker was managing partner and CEO of both companies.
For help with problems relating to private sector retirement and health plans, employers and employees can call EBSA’s Dallas Regional Office at 972-850-4500 or toll-free at 866-444-3272.
EBSA protects the retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of America’s workers, retirees and their families. The agency oversees approximately 701,000 private sector retirement plans, 2.3 million health plans and other plans that provide benefits to more than 141 million Americans. Collectively, these plans hold more than $7.3 trillion in assets. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
Perez v. Gulf States Staffing and Personnel LLC et al.
Civil Action Number: 3:13-CV-00522-JJB-SCR
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.