Boeing to pay $57 million to settle 401(k) lawsuit

The Boeing logo is seen on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane in Long Beach, California March 14, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N said it had agreed to pay $57 million to settle a lawsuit in which employees accused the company of mismanaging their 401(k) retirement plan.

The settlement amount is the second-highest ever in excessive 401(k) fee litigation, Schlichter Bogard & Denton, the law firm representing the employees, said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N paid $62 million to settle a similar lawsuit this year.

The Boeing lawsuit, filed in 2006, contended that the company had breached its fiduciary duties to employees by allowing the record-keeper to charge employees and retirees excessive fees and placing expensive and risky investment options in the plan, which dampened investment returns.

Boeing denied wrongdoing, but said it had settled to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation.

“... Boeing maintains that it has prudently managed and overseen the VIP (voluntary investment plan) at all times,” Tony Parasida, the company’s senior vice president of human resources and administration, said in an emailed statement.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois will hold a hearing early next year to determine whether to give the settlement final approval, Boeing said.

The company’s shares were down 0.5 percent at $147.50 in late afternoon trading.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Kirti Pandey