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Putting Yard-Man Out to Pasture: Supreme Court in Tackett Rejects Inference Regarding Vesting of Retiree Medical Benefits

Speaker(s): Allyson N. Ho, Andrew L. Oringer, Julia Penny Clark
Recorded on: Feb. 24, 2015
PLI Program #: 136065

Allyson Ho co-chairs the firm's Appellate Practice. Recognized in Chambers as "a superstar young appellate lawyer" and ranked as one of the nation's top appellate litigators, she has successfully litigated high-stakes cases for Fortune 500 clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts nationwide. She recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in a victory unanimously rejecting a 22-year precedent involving vesting of retiree healthcare benefits. Described by sources as "extraordinarily talented" and "outstanding, smart and responsive," she was named in the National Law Journal's 2010 Appellate Hot List and recognized by Texas Lawyer as one of Texas' top 20 "winning women" litigators (both trial and appellate). Ms. Ho is an accomplished appellate and constitutional lawyer with a distinguished record of government service. She has successfully argued cases in trial and appellate courts across the country and has successfully litigated in both federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, and numerous federal and state intermediate courts of appeals nationwide. She also regularly represents clients in government investigations and other adversarial settings outside of formal litigation proceedings.

Ms. Ho has served at the highest levels of government, including senior positions in both the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice. As special assistant to the President, she was responsible for briefing the President on a wide range of legal issues. As counselor to the Attorney General, she oversaw the Justice Department's homeland security and immigration enforcement efforts on behalf of the Attorney General. She also served as a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Jacques L. Wiener Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In private practice, she successfully represented former high-ranking U.S. and foreign government officials in federal court and counseled U.S. Senators and Presidential candidates on a variety of legal issues. She also regularly advises the Texas Supreme Court and other members of the state judiciary as a member of the Texas Judicial Council. Governor Rick Perry appointed Ms. Ho to the Texas Judicial Council in 2008 and then reappointed her in 2013. Her practice spans a wide range of matters, including federal preemption, First Amendment, RICO, antitrust, punitive damages, class actions, and labor and employment.
Ms. Ho is actively involved in a variety of national and statewide bar organizations and has served on numerous boards and committees, and is a nationally recognized expert on appellate and constitutional legal issues. She is a recent presenter at programs sponsored by the Harvard Journal of Legislation, the State Bar of Texas, the Center for Politics & Governance at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy.

Ms. Ho received her J.D., with high honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was named to the Order of the Coif. While in law school, she was a member of The University of Chicago Law Review, articles editor of The University of Chicago Legal Forum, editor-in-chief of the symposium issue of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and a recipient of the Anne Watson Barber Award for Outstanding Service and the Caspar Platt Award for best paper written by a law school student. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Rice University, where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and a Vaughn Fellow. Ms. Ho received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Duke University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Ms. Ho is admitted to practice in Texas and the District of Columbia and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuits; the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas; and the U.S. Supreme Court.


University of Chicago Law School, 2000, J.D., With High Honors
Rice University, 1994, Ph.D.
Rice University, 1994, M.A.
Duke University, 1988, B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Practice Areas

Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling
Government & Private Antitrust Litigation & Investigations

Honors + Affiliations

Listed, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2010–2014)
Noted in The US Legal 500 for Supreme Court and Appellate (2014)
Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (2015)
Listed, National Law Journal's 2010 Appellate Hot List
Recognized, Texas Lawyer's "Winning Women" List (2011)
Listed, "Texas Super Lawyer," Texas Monthly and Law & Politics (2011–2013)
Honoree, Dallas Business Journal's Women in Business Awards (2014)
Member, American Law Institute
Texas Judicial Council Member (appointed by Governor Rick Perry in May 2008, reappointed November 2013)
Chairman Elect, Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council, State Bar of Texas
Executive Committee Member, Federalist Society Litigation Practice Group
Editorial Board Member, The Advocate (published by the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas)
Texas Bar Foundation Fellow
Dallas Bar Foundation Fellow

Bar Admissions


District of Columbia

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas
U.S. Supreme Court

Andrew L. Oringer is a partner and the co-chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group at Dechert LLP.  He is the co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Business Section, Emerging Issues Coordinator of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation and chair of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Attorney Professionalism.  Mr. Oringer is a charter member of the Practical Law Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Advisory Board and was a long-standing member of the Advisory Board for the Bloomberg BNA Benefits Resource Practice Center and for the Tax Management Compensation Planning Journal.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, a Senior Fellow from Practice for the Regulatory Compliance Association and an adjunct professor at the Maurice A. Deane Law School at Hofstra University.  He is co-editor of a leading treatise on ERISA fiduciary law and has authored two of its chapters, and has authored a chapter in a leading treatise on the taxation of nonqualified deferred compensation and.  Mr. Oringer is highly rated by a number of key ranking organizations, has been repeatedly included in a widely disseminated list of the Top 100 lawyers in New York City across all practice areas and is a member of The Legal 500 Hall of Fame.

Julia Penny Clark is a member of Bredhoff & Kaiser, PLLC, where she has practiced law since 1975. Penny has extensive experience in federal litigation, and focuses her practice in the employee-benefit area.

Penny is counsel to a number of large multiemployer pension and health-benefit plans, as well as multiemployer 401(k) plans and funds that provide training or legal services to employee participants, and to a public-employee pension plan. She also represents labor unions and groups of employees in benefits litigation.

Penny argued Beck v. PACE Int’l Union (No. 05-1448) in the United States Supreme Court in April 2007. Some of her other major litigation cases include suits to preserve health benefits for a class of retired Virginia truck assembly workers and for a class of retired North Carolina rubber workers, in both of which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed jury verdicts that the employers could not unilaterally reduce retiree health benefits under collective bargaining agreements, Quesenberry, et al. v. Volvo Group North America, LLC, 651 F.3d 437 (4th Cir. 2011); Trull, et al. v. Dayco Products, LLC, et al., 178 Fed. Appx. 247 (4th Cir. 2006); securing approval of class-action settlements to preserve medical benefits for General Motors and Ford retirees, UAW v. General Motors Corp., 497 F.3d 615 (6th Cir. 2007); defending employer third-party claims against a union for alleged misrepresentation in bargaining about retiree benefits, Winnett v. Caterpillar, Inc., 703 F. Supp. 2d 745 (M.D. Tenn. 2010), aff’d 2013 WL 69191 (6th Cir. Jan. 7, 2013); CNH Am. LLC v. UAW, 645 F.3d 785 (6th Cir. 2011); enforcing employer obligations to contribute to multiemployer funds under Section 515 of ERISA, Bakery & Confectionery Pension Fund v. Ralph’s Grocery Co., 118 F.3d 1018 (4th Cir. 1997); enforcing an “evergreen clause” requiring employers to continue making contributions to multiemployer benefit funds, UMWA 1974 Pension Trust v. Pittston Co., 984 F.2d 469 (D.C. Cir. 1993); and litigating disputes over employer withdrawal liability, Borden, Inc. v. Bakery & Confectionery Pension Fund, 974 F.2d 528 (4th Cir. 1992). Penny is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, the American Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. From 1990 to 1996 she served on the Committee on Admissions and Grievances for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Before joining the firm, Penny served as a law clerk to the Hon. Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court, and to the Hon. J. Braxton Craven, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She obtained a J.D. with highest honors from the University of Texas Law School in 1973 and a B.A. with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969.