Donald L. Havermann focuses his practice on ERISA litigation and the representation of ERISA fiduciaries, plan sponsors, corporations, corporate executives, trustees, Taft Hartley trust funds, and employee benefit plans in US federal and state courts. He has handled numerous ERISA class actions and has represented fiduciaries in dozens of investigations brought by the US Department of Labor (DOL). His practice includes counseling clients on fiduciary responsibilities, ERISA compliance, litigation avoidance, and employee benefits issues arising under traditional labor laws.
Don has been recognized by Thomson Reutersas a Washington, DC Super Lawyer for Employee Benefits/ERISA since 2013 and is recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law in Washington, DC for 2020.
In the ERISA litigation space, Don has defended fiduciaries, plan sponsors, and employee benefit plans in class actions and multi-plaintiff cases involving fiduciary breach claims, prohibited transactions, and ERISA statutory violations and/or improper benefit claim denials. He served as defense counsel in five ERISA “stock drop” class actions involving Freddie Mac, Molson Coors, Centex, Diebold, and Guidant. Don also represented International Paper, Duke University, and a large multiemployer defined contribution pension plan in ERISA “excessive fees and expenses” class actions. He prevailed before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a severance plan class action for the United States Enrichment Corporation, and has also defended retiree medical class actions for Centrus Energy, Weyerhaeuser, and Honeywell. Currently, Don is defending two cases involving claims against ESOP fiduciaries.
During his 30+ year career at Morgan Lewis, Don has also served as counsel to Taft Hartley trust funds in the trucking, construction, and retail food industries. As trust fund counsel, he handled litigation matters for the funds, defended investigations initiated by the DOL and Internal Revenue Service and advised boards of trustees about plan administration and fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA. Don served as trial counsel in Slye v. Central States Funds (S.D. Ohio), which involved the successful defense of breach of fiduciary duty claims and unique issues involving the principle of adverse actuarial selection. He currently serves as management co-counsel to the Teamsters Local 639 – Employers Pension and Health & Welfare Funds located in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.
Don has spoken on ERISA litigation and related issues at the Construction Industry Benefits Conference of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans; the US Chamber of Commerce; the ABA Section of Public Utility, Communication, and Transportation Law, as well as numerous ERISA Litigation Roundtables sponsored by Morgan Lewis.
University of Virginia, 1976, B.S.
University of Virginia School of Law, 1980, J.D.
District of Columbia
U.S. Supreme Court
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, Litigation – ERISA, Washington, DC, The Best Lawyers in America (2020, 2022)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Winner, The National Law Journal’s Litigation Department of the Year – Labor and Employment (2014)
Listed, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers for Employee Benefits/ERISA (2013–2015)
Member, American Bar Association
Member, ABA Litigation Section
Member, District of Columbia Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section