An employee of Ventura Foods LLC has sued the company and its fiduciaries alleging their management of a 401(k) plan violated ERISA due to "unreasonable" high record-keeping fees, "excessive" investment management fees and inadequate selection of investment options.
"Defendants have not followed ERISA's standard of care," said the lawsuit filed Dec. 21 in a U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif.
Among the allegations, the lawsuit criticized the company and fiduciaries for "offering and maintaining funds with higher-cost share classes when identical lower-cost class shares were available."
The defendants also were blamed for "retaining and offering poorly performing funds within the plan which failed to meet or exceed industry standard benchmarks," such as those calculated by Morningstar, said the case of Gramstad vs. Ventura Foods LLC et al.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, also accused the defendants of charging high record-keeping fees through the use of revenue sharing.
A company representative did not respond to a request for comment.
The Ventura Foods LLC Profit Sharing 401(k) Plan, Brea, Calif., had $323 million in assets as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to the lawsuit.