Your ERISA Watch blog is written and edited by Kantor & Kantor LLP attorneys Elizabeth Hopkins and Peter Sessions, with the assistance of the law firm’s legal journalist, Emily Payson.
Each week our goal is to provide you with the benefit of the expertise of knowledgeable ERISA litigators who are on the frontline of benefit claim and fiduciary breach litigation. Although our law firm represents plaintiffs, we strive to provide objective and balanced summaries so they are informative for the widest possible audience.
Don’t forget to check out the ERISA Watch podcast, which tells the true stories behind the cases. If you have any questions or a decision you would like to see included in our Your ERISA Watch blog, please email one of our editors.
Elizabeth Hopkins is a partner at Kantor & Kantor. After a long and fulfilling career at the United States Department of Labor, where she gained substantial experience working on pension, healthcare, and other ERISA issues, she joined the firm in 2018. She represents clients who have been denied a pension, healthcare, disability, and life insurance benefits. She has practiced in the ERISA field since 1989 and is a passionate, knowledgeable, and creative advocate for those who have been denied the employee benefits to which they are entitled.
Prior to joining Kantor & Kantor, Elizabeth worked for three decades at the Department of Labor, where she specialized in appellate litigation and ERISA. From 2002 through 2017, she headed the ERISA appellate and amicus program, where she oversaw nationwide litigation designed to advance the interests of workers and their families with regard to their employee benefits. She filed over 100 friend-of-the-court and party briefs and presented arguments in federal courts of appeals throughout the country and supervised others in doing so.
She also participated in formulating departmental positions and briefing ERISA issues in the Supreme Court, where she worked on many of the important ERISA cases of the last two decades. In addition, she worked on a number of regulatory issues and court challenges to ERISA and the Affordable Care Act regulations adopted by the Department of Labor. During her tenure at the Department of Labor, she was a frequent speaker at ERISA conferences and bar-sponsored events and taught numerous classes on ERISA topics and brief writing. She was also the recipient of many awards for her work on particular projects and cases and was one of the first recipients of a prestigious annual award for brief writing.
Throughout her long career, Elizabeth has been motivated by the desire to help others and to fight for justice for individuals. In addition to her paid work, Elizabeth has been involved in many activities with the District of Columbia Bar and the American Bar Association. She is a member of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, where she has served as a judge on their annual writing competition. She has been a contributing writer and editor on the American Bar Association’s, Employee Benefits Law, and has recently been appointed to serve on the Board of Senior Editors for that publication. Elizabeth is also a lifelong volunteer for a wide range of organizations, from the Special Olympics to a homeless shelter, to the Red Cross, to an after-school program at a Los Angeles public high school. Most recently, she traveled to Dilley, Texas to represent detained migrant women and their children claiming asylum.
Elizabeth is very excited to bring her skill and experience to representing clients at Kantor & Kantor with their ERISA claims.
Peter S. Sessions is a senior associate at Kantor & Kantor who has been with the firm since 2004. Peter represents individual clients seeking health, life, and disability benefits, typically under employee health plans. Peter has litigated cases across the country and has extensive federal appellate experience.
Peter was born in Vermont and went to college in Massachusetts. After college, he lived in New York for two years, where he worked for the New York County District Attorney’s Office. In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles to attend law school. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.
Emily Payson is the staff writer at Your ERISA Watch blog. Prior to taking this position reporting on the latest developments in employee benefits law, Emily worked as a creative writer on a diverse array of projects including as the lyricist for the 2017 PBS documentary Portrait of Harry and as a fiction writer of several short stories, children’s books, and a YA novel.
Emily jumped at the opportunity to take this journalistic position at Your ERISA Watch when it arose, eager to engage with this complex area of the law. Emily loves that her work summarizing ERISA decisions encompasses so many broad areas of interest from healthcare to economics. It is Emily’s wholehearted belief that workers deserve to receive the benefits they not only have been promised, but that they’ve earned.