Genentech has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle an ERISA lawsuit by a former employee who accused the company's 401(k) plan of charging excessive record-keeping fees.
The settlement agreement, which requires court approval, was filed Nov. 21 in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco in Matthew Wehner vs. Genentech Inc. et al. The agreement was filed by attorneys representing the plaintiff.
Genentech and its 401(k) plan fiduciaries "deny any wrongdoing and liability," the document said.
The lawsuit had been scheduled to go to trial Oct. 30, but the parties negotiated an agreement to allow them "to avoid continued and costly litigation," the settlement document said.
Wehner sued in October 2020 alleging ERISA violations related to the record-keeping fees as well as allegations of excessive management fees and the retention of expensive, poor-performing investments.
A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed the lawsuit in February 2021, allowing an amended complaint. The judge allowed the record-keeping fees allegation to proceed to trial. A federal judge in San Francisco in August 2023 rejected the defendants' second attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed.
The settlement document said the agreement affects only the record-keeping fees allegation, adding that it preserves the plaintiff's right to appeal the investment claim.
Genentech is a subsidiary of Roche Group, which is not a defendant.
U.S. Roche 401(k) Savings Plan, South San Francisco, Calif., had $10.9 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2022, according to the latest Form 5500.