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Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor are taking a hard look at so-called hidden fees in 401k retirement plans — but not as hard as the look taken by plaintiffs’ firms that are suing corporations for allegedly failing to protect their employee’s nest eggs.

At least 12 cases have been brought by Jerome J. Schlichter of Schlichter Bogard & Denton in St. Louis, alleging that plan sponsors such as Boeing, International Paper and Caterpillar neither examined nor disclosed to plan participants fees that are split among service providers. The suits are brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

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