Paul Heiring

Paul Heiring

Of Counsel


Paul has over 30 years of experience and practices exclusively in the area of ERISA litigation and other employee benefit disputes.

In addition to litigating a broad range of ERISA cases, he also counsels clients on issues that might eventually lead to litigation, with the goal of either avoiding litigation or putting the client in the best position to defend itself. He has represented Fortune 500 companies including retailers, manufacturers, insurers, financial institutions, TPAs, and trustees. He has also been involved in complex litigation involving non-ERISA plans, such as church plans.

Paul has a detailed understanding of the numerous issues presented in ERISA litigation, including the causes of action and remedies available under ERISA, statutes of limitation, fiduciary duties, prohibited transactions, ERISA preemption of state laws, and the rules that govern claims for benefits and appeals of claim denials. He is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education and other programs on ERISA and benefits litigation topics.

Education & Admissions

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D., 1986), magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Law Review (articles editor)

Lawrence University (B.A., 1980), magna cum laude


  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota


Representative Litigation

Representative ERISA litigation matters that Paul has been involved in include:

  • Defending a large medical plan TPA in a putative class action brought by a medical clinic seeking payment of denied claims.
  • Defending employers and trustees of plans that hold employer stock from "stock-drop" claims that the stock should have been sold before a significant decline in value.
  • Defending an ESOP transactional trustee against claims that it breached its fiduciary duty by refusing to purchase the remaining 80 percent of the founder’s stock because it believed the proposed terms were not in the best interests of the ESOP.
  • Defending a church-affiliated organization and its executives in a class action related to the termination of its underfunded pension plan.
  • Defending numerous employers in cases alleging that retirees had a "vested" right to post-retirement medical benefits and that those benefits could not be amended or eliminated.
  • Defending an acquiring company in a large class action alleging that the acquisition had triggered an entitlement to hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits under a change-in-control severance plan for management employees, and that the acquiring company was breaching its fiduciary duty in processing claims for benefits.
  • Defending a large employer and its ESOP from claims made by laid off employees seeking additional benefits.
  • Defending a large employer in a class action brought by employees of an acquired company alleging that, as part of the asset purchase agreement, they were promised larger pensions than they were actually receiving.
  • Defending an employer/plan sponsor in a beneficiary dispute involving the 401(k) account of a deceased participant.
  • Representing pension plans and plan administrators in lawsuits against participants seeking recovery of overpaid pension benefits.


  • Named Best Lawyers Minneapolis ERISA Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America — ERISA Litigation, 2016-2022
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America Employment Law Issue, 2021
  • Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing, 2016
Paul Heiring