The dueling parties in an ERISA lawsuit against Land O'Lakes Inc. and the fiduciaries of its 401(k) plan have told a federal judge they wish to mediate the dispute.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs — two former employees of the dairy cooperative — and for Land O'Lakes submitted their request Tuesday to a U.S. District Court judge in St. Paul, Minn., asking that the proceedings be stayed pending efforts to settle the case via mediation.
The mediation sessions are set to begin Oct. 13, according to the filing in the case of Parmer et al. vs. Land O'Lakes et al.
The plaintiffs sued the dairy cooperative and fiduciaries in May 2020, alleging the defendants kept certain investment options in the plan even though there were "identical or similar" investments in the marketplace that were cheaper and/or better performing.
They also criticized fiduciaries for failing to use lower-cost shares for many of the mutual funds in the plan menu and for failing to consider offering cheaper collective investment trusts instead of certain mutual funds, according to the complaint.
The Land O' Lakes Employee Savings & Supplemental Retirement Plan, St. Paul, Minn., had $1.7 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2019, according to the latest Form 5500.