Memphis, Tenn., (July 20, 2011) – Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, one of the largest legal practices based in Tennessee, is pleased to announce Memphis attorney David Thornton’s leadership of the firm’s Employee Benefits Practice Group.

Thornton, a member of Bass, Berry & Sims’ Tax Practice since 2005, specializes in employee benefits, benefits litigation, and corporate and health law. He has extensive experience in the design, implementation and administration of retirement plans, including pension, profit sharing, 401(k) and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). One of the focus areas of his practice is the implementation and administration of health and welfare plans, including self-funded and fully insured health benefit plans, Health Reform (PPACA), HIPAA and COBRA compliance, cafeteria plans and medical reimbursement plans.

As chair of Bass, Berry & Sims’ Employee Benefits Practice Group, Thornton will manage attorneys across the state in the firm’s representation of employers, plan fiduciaries, third-party administrators, insurers, governmental units and other providers of employee benefit plans and programs on a wide range of employee benefit matters, with particular experience in plan design, implementation and administration, employee benefits litigation, mergers and acquisitions, worker classification and independent contractor issues, and downsizing.

The Employee Benefits Practice is complemented by attorneys in other practice areas of the firm including labor attorneys on issues such as severance pay, downsizing, collective bargaining, COBRA, family leave laws, and age and disability discrimination; litigation attorneys in complex Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation matters; and corporate attorneys in matters such as mergers and acquisitions, stock option plans and executive compensation programs.

The Employee Benefits Practice Group also has substantial experience in advising employers on compliance with ERISA’s fiduciary responsibility rules, including compliance with the prohibited transaction rules, structuring and documenting the employer’s fiduciary responsibility allocations to minimize fiduciary liability exposure and drafting prudent investment procedures.

Thornton received his B.S., with high honors, from the University of Tennessee, and received his J.D., with high honors, from the University of Tennessee College of Law where he was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

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