WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Eclipse Freight Systems Inc. and its owner Christopher L. McDougal in an effort to recover about $62,000 in employee retirement contributions. The department's lawsuit, filed in U.S. Northern District Court of Texas, Fort Worth Division, alleges that Mr. McDougal and his company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by using assets belonging to the employee retirement plan for the benefit of his business operations.
"The employer had a duty to manage and protect the employees' benefit plans and their assets, yet they failed to do so," said Deborah Perry, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, which investigated this case. "The department will take every action necessary to restore plan assets that were not properly preserved for the company's workers."
Eclipse Freight Systems, formerly located in Grapevine, Texas, is engaged in the business of freight transportation services. An EBSA investigation revealed that for about two and one-half years, employee wages intended for contribution to the retirement plan were withheld from employees' pay but were not forwarded to the retirement plan. The department seeks a court order requiring the restoration of all plan losses and barring Mr. McDougal from serving in any capacity to any other employee benefit plan.
At the time of the violations, eight employee participants were affected by the missing retirement contributions totaling in excess of $38,000. Mr. McDougal also is a plan participant. The department's complaint was filed by the Dallas Regional Solicitor's Office.
Employers and workers can reach EBSA's Dallas office at 972-850-4500 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private-sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/.
Perez v. Eclipse Freight Systems, Inc. et al. Civil Action Number: 4:14-cv-00811-O