James Harbert's practice covers the full spectrum of employee benefits and executive compensation matters, including counseling, ERISA litigation, governmental investigations and the defense of employee plan fiduciaries and professionals. In addition, Mr. Harbert has an active federal and state tax litigation practice.
Reported cases handled by Mr. Harbert include the following:
- Sinclair v. Delta Dental Plan of Illinois Retirement Income Plan, 31 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1568 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (ERISA pension plan benefits claim).
- Rankins v. Long Term Disability Plan, 6 F.Supp. 2d 988 (C.D. Ill. 1998) (ERISA civil procedure).
- Thomas v.United States, 98-2 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) 50,622 (C.D. Ill. 1998) (corporate officer responsibility for federal trust fund taxes).
- Department of Revenue v. XYZ Co., Inc., Ill. State Tax Rep. (CCH) 400-960 (Ill. Dept. Rev. Admin. Hearings Office 1998) (statute of limitations).
- Humann v. Wal-Mart Associates’ Group Health Plan, 1996 WL 109742 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (ERISA group health plan benefits claim).
- Kotarba v. Jamrozik, 283 Ill.App.3d 595 (1996) (tort liability of contractors).
- Wagenknecht v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1995 WL 617479 (N.D. Ill. 1995) (ERISA preemption).
- Estate of Schaefer v. Commissioner, 66 Tax Ct. Mem. Dec. (CCH) 944 (1993) (attorneys’ fees shifting).
- Freund v. Avis Rent A Car System, Inc., 114 Ill.2d 73 (1986) (class action pertaining to automobile renting taxes).
- Lindt v.United States, 87-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) ¶ 9201 (N.D. Ill. 1986) (attorneys’ fees shifting).
- Stovall v. Commissioner, 46 Tax Ct. Mem. Dec. (CCH) 894 (1983), aff’d, 762 F.2d 891 (5th Cir. 1985) (federal income taxes).
Mr. Harbert began his legal career as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Treasury representing the federal government before the United States Tax Court. Mr. Harbert has been in private practice since 1982. He joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in May 1988.
Since 2005, Mr. Harbert has been named annually to the Super Lawyer
list in the area of Employee Benefits/ERISA, by Illinois Super Lawyers
magazine. He has also been recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the category of Employee Benefits Law.
Mr. Harbert is a coauthor of “Employee Plan Issues Arising in Individual Employment Terminations” and “Special Employee Plan Issues Arising in Mass Employment Terminations,” Chapters 6 and 7, respectively, of “Employment Termination Handbook
,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (2011).
His presentations have included:
- “Leveraged ESOPs 101,” Hinshaw Breakfast Briefing for Accountants, Schererville, Indiana, October 2011.
- “Looking Forward to 2012: Group Health Plans and Retirement Plans,” Hinshaw’s Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, October 2011.
- “Health Care Reform: Where We Are Now,” Illinois Association of School Boards’ Joint Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 2010.
- “Health Care Reform: Where We Are Now,” 2010 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, October 2010.
- “Benefits Update,” Hinshaw’s 2008 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Oak Brook, Illinois, November 2008.
- “Employee Benefits Issues in Individual and Mass Terminations,” at Hinshaw’s 2007 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, November 2007.
- “How Employee Benefit Plans are Affected by Employment Discrimination,” Hinshaw’s 2006 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, September 2006.
- “Recent Development in Statutory Exposure,” Hinshaw’s 2005 Legal Malpractice & Risk Management Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 2006.
- “Recent Developments in Employee Benefits Law,” Hinshaw’s 2005 Annual Labor & Employment Seminar, Lisle, Illinois, November 2005.
- “Executive Compensation, Intermediate Sanctions and Financial Reporting,” Hinshaw’s 2005 Health Care Conference: Current Issues Affecting Health System and Hospital Boards and Management, Chicago, Illinois, September 2005.
- “Selected Employment Law Issues Affecting Benefits Plans: Wrongful Discharge, ADA, and ADEA,” Chicago Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee seminar “Hot Topics in Employee Benefits,” Chicago Illinois, March 2005.
In recognition of his pro bono
legal work for the Big Shoulders Fund, a charity that provides funding for inner-city Chicago Catholic schools, Mr. Harbert was presented with the Big Shoulders Fund Director’s Award by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. His professional and civic activities also include service as chairman of the General Caucus for School Districts
64 and 207 in Park Ridge, Illinois