Sanford Heisler Sharp Files ERISA Class Action Lawsuit Against Transamerica on Behalf of More Than 17,000 Retirement Plan Beneficiaries

Posted January 2nd, 2019.

Suit Alleges that Transamerica Places Employees in Poorly Performing Funds

Click here to read the complaint

IOWA, January 2, 2019 –  Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a class action complaint on Friday, December 28th  in the U.S. District Court of Northern Iowa detailing the ways in which the Transamerica Corporation violates basic fiduciary duties under ERISA and abuses its employees’ trust by mismanaging their retirement funds. The complaint alleges the company invests employees’ retirement savings in multiple funds that consistently underperform their investment benchmarks and other similar collective investment funds. The consequences to employees are substantial: the Transamerica 401(k) Plan has cost its employees millions of dollars in retirement savings.

Plaintiffs Jeremy Karg, Matthew R. LaMarche, and Shirley Rhodes each filed the case individually and as representatives of approximately 17,000 Plan participants in Transamerica Corporation’s $1.7 billion 401(k) Plan (“Plan”). Named as Defendants are the Transamerica Corporation and the committees and their members that provide investment advice and services to the Plan.

David Sanford, chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp and counsel for Plaintiffs and the proposed class, noted, “ERISA’s fiduciary standards are strict and exacting. Transamerica retained too many poor-performing investment options on the Plan which were highly detrimental to the retirement savings of Plan participants. Transamerica and the committees should be held to the highest standard as fiduciaries; but in this case they fall below the lowest standard.”

The complaint describes how thousands of Transamerica employees and former employees invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the company’s Plan. Given the company’s investment sophistication and extensive assets, employees trust Transamerica to construct a stellar retirement plan. Yet, according to the complaint, Transamerica saddled the Plan’s participants with substandard investment options that were managed by a Transamerica affiliate, Transamerica Asset Management. Accordingly, Plaintiffs claim, Transamerica fails to prudently select investment options and monitor their performance as required by ERISA. As a result, Transamerica causes the Plan, and its participants, to suffer staggering losses.

Charles Field, a partner at Sanford Heisler and counsel for Plaintiffs and the proposed class, added, “As a fiduciary to the Plan, Transamerica is obligated to monitor its Plan to ensure the Plan’s investments are prudent. Transamerica neglected these sacrosanct duties.”

Plaintiffs and the class seek compensation for financial losses to Plan participants and beneficiaries resulting from the Plan’s underperforming investments; divestiture of imprudent investments; and the removal of the fiduciaries who have violated their duties to the Plan’s participants and beneficiaries under ERISA.

About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP

Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Nashville; San Diego; and Baltimore.  Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating and trying cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.

The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with claims of employment discrimination, sexual violence, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, consumer fraud, and whistleblowing, among other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the Firm also represents individuals and has achieved extraordinary success in the representation of executives and attorneys in employment disputes.

For more information go to or call (202) 499-5200 or email For the latest news, visit our newsroom or follow us on Twitter at @sanfordheisler.

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