Frank E. Berrodin is a Member of the firm and has been practicing law since 1987. Mr. Berrodin’s practice is devoted primarily to employee benefit and executive compensation issues, particularly the design, drafting and administration of qualified and non-qualified retirement and welfare plans for both taxable and tax-exempt entities.
A significant portion of Mr. Berrodin’s practice involves the resolution of disputes that arise between employers and employees regarding the benefits available under various plans, as well as disputes between employers and certain government agencies that regulate such plans (such as the IRS and Department of Labor).
Mr. Berrodin works with company owners and executives to design or enhance qualified employee benefit plans, including 401(k) retirement plans, new comparability profit sharing plans, employee stock ownership plans, and cash balance pension plans. This includes showing owners and/or executives ways of maximizing their tax deductible contributions at the lowest total cost to the employer and designing plans to accomplish the objectives of different classes of employees. It also includes explaining the tax and other legal issues involved in establishing, administering and terminating tax-qualified plans.
Mr. Berrodin has also worked with a number of employers who have discovered errors or problems with their qualified retirement plans to help them determine the best method for correcting the problems. In many cases, this has involved working with the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and other federal agencies to minimize penalties and retain the tax-qualified status of a plan.
Mr. Berrodin has also assisted employment lawyers in their negotiations regarding multiple-employer union pension plans. For example, Mr. Berrodin has provided analysis and cost comparisons of agreeing to increased contributions to a multi-employer pension plan (which includes an increased share of withdrawal liability) as opposed to having the employer establish its own retirement plan.
With respect to non-qualified plans, Mr. Berrodin has been retained by company owners and executives to design a variety of compensation packages, including deferred compensation, phantom stock, restricted stock, stock options, and split dollar life insurance plans. This includes advising employers how to minimize the impact of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) on the plan and design and administer the plan in accordance with ERISA and other applicable laws.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In addition, Mr. Berrodin has been retained in merger and acquisition matters relating to the spinoff or merger of plans and determining the value of benefits afforded to former key executives. As an example, Mr. Berrodin assisted a large hospital system with the acquisition of the employee benefit plans of another large hospital it acquired including a frozen pension plan and several defined contribution plans. In another case, he represented the executives of an acquired company in an arbitration involving the dollar value of the benefit package the executives were to receive. He also represented a group of over 15 physicians regarding the spinoff of individual pension plans from the large underfunded pension plan of a defunct medical clinic.
Finally, Mr. Berrodin has worked with both plaintiff and defense attorneys regarding ERISA and contractual claims for benefits. Mr. Berrodin has extensive experience in determining the value of lost benefits (both past and future) and explaining the operation of various employee benefit plans and the calculation of amounts payable under the plans, for judges and arbitrators who are frequently unfamiliar with new or unusual plan designs.
Professional Affiliations, Activities and Honors
Mr. Berrodin is a member of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, and Grand Rapids Bar Association. He also previously held an adjunct faculty position at Davenport College where he taught Business Law. In addition, he has served as an instructor for the Grand Valley State University Masters of Tax Program Employee Benefits course. Mr. Berrodin is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America®” for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and was named as Best Lawyers 2013 Grand Rapids Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law Lawyer of the Year. He is a Michigan “Super Lawyer” for Employee Benefits/ ERISA. He is recommended by Chambers USA for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation.
Mr. Berrodin currently serves on the Board of Education for William C. Abney Academy. He is also on the Forest Hills Northern Athletic Boosters board. Mr. Berrodin previously served on the Board of Directors of the Thornapple Valley Youth Baseball League. Mr. Berrodin was on the Board of Directors for the Lakeshore Lung Society as well as serving as the Finance Committee Chairman. He also was on the United Way Services Review and Allocation Panel, Muskegon Area Alliance Health Panel, and participated in the Muskegon Community Leadership Academy
Mr. Berrodin received his law degree, cum laude, from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1987 and his undergraduate degree from Hope College in 1984. While in law school, Mr. Berrodin was a member of the Indiana Law Journal editorial staff. He is admitted to practice in Michigan.