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At the center of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) benefit claim litigation is the ERISA plan. In the plan, employers have flexibility to define the obligations required of plan participants before an employer must pay benefits. Careful drafting of an ERISA plan can provide an employer a greater likelihood of success in benefit claim litigation. Part one of this three-part series on preparing an ERISA plan for litigation addresses the exhaustion of administrative remedies, gaining the benefit of discretionary decision-making and setting the litigation forum.   

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