In September, the DOL filed Perez v. New Generations Furniture Co. (docket number: 1:13-cv-01268) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Jackson Division. The aims of the suit are:
- to remove the defendants—New Generations Furniture Company, New Generations Employee Retirement and Savings Plan, and Ben J. Gaines—as fiduciaries to the plan;
- enjoin the defendants from engaging in further violations of Title I of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
- appoint an independent fiduciary to arrange for termination of the plan and distribution of its assets; and
- to provide such other relief as may be just and equitable.
According to an investigation by the DOL, the New Generations Furniture Company ceased operations around June 2009, after which neither the company nor Gaines, who was a trustee of the plan, took steps to administer the plan or ensure that plan assets were appropriately distributed to the terminated participants. Since then, said the DOL, the company and Gaines have failed to administer the plan and effectively abandoned it.
Participants have been unable to receive information or gain access to their funds. As of March 31, 2010, the plan had approximately 147 participants and assets of approximately $102,117.90.