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Lockheed Martin reaches agreement to settle 401(k) fee case

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A class action lawsuit brought by employees of Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Maryland, alleging excessive 401(k) plan fees is in the process of being settled.

The trial in the case had been scheduled to start Monday this week. Settlement talks began after U.S. District Court Judge Michael Reagan in East St. Louis, Illinois, said he would not consider settlements once the trial in Abbott v. Lockheed Martin Corp. got underway.

“The parties have reached an agreement in principle to settle the case. Details of the agreement are still being finalized," company spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said in an emailed statement.

The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2006 and has been remanded twice, now represents more than 100,000 employees and retirees questioning the fees and investments of two Lockheed Martin 401(k) plans, including a stable value fund and company stock.

Plaintiffs represented by Schlichter Bogard & Denton L.L.P. were seeking $1.3 billion in damages from investments they allege were imprudent.

Lockheed defined contribution plan assets total $27.7 billion.

Hazel Bradford writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.