Multiple 9th Circuit and Federal District Court wins!
A little about Cassie Springer Ayeni, ERISA litigation attorney
Caring for my clients comes naturally for me, and I take pleasure in developing new legal arguments to change the inequities of employee benefits law, resulting in a top reputation and amazing results for my clients. Making a difference in lives of others and in the legal landscape is the reason I became a lawyer to begin with. I am proud of the work we do at Springer Ayeni, and proud to be a woman-owned firm in a field still dominated by men. I take pleasure in setting a new definition of what it means to be a successful woman litigator when I bring my baby to a conference or along with me for a meeting with a colleague. I aim to show that women can both practice in a rigorous field and be dedicated parents at the same time.
Outside of work, I relax by arranging flowers for non-profits such as the March of Dimes, playing the piano (I’m thrilled that my two oldest girls are loving their piano lessons as much as I did as a girl!), and enjoying time with my wonderful family. I have three beautiful daughters and it is truly joyous for me to spend time with them. Having lost one of my twin girls in 2008 due to consequences of prematurity, I am acutely aware of how precious kids are, and I am grateful for my daughters’ good health. Such a tragedy gave me the fortitude not just to survive, but to thrive and to better the lives of others, especially my clients.
A little More
Cassie Springer Ayeni is the President of Springer Ayeni, A Professional Law Corporation. www.benefitslaw.com She represents people with disability, medical, and life insurance benefit claims under ERISA. She has dedicated her entire career to serving clients in need of employee benefit advocacy, particularly those with disabilities. Known for her ERISA expertise, Cassie is a frequent speaker and author on the topic. She takes pride in building a record that often convinces insurance companies to reverse their own denials before a case even has to go to court.
Education: U.C. Berkeley School of Law 2002 (Boalt Hall); U.C. Berkeley, B.A. (phi beta kappa)
Distinctions: Cassie was selected as a Top 100 attorney in Northern California in 2016 and 2015 by Super Lawyers Magazine, and Top 50 Women attorney in Northern California by the same publication in 2016, 2015, and 2014. She was also chosen as a Top 40 under 40 attorney by the National Trial Lawyers in March 2014, a Top 20 under 40 attorney in the state of California by the Daily Journal in January 2012, as well as one of 50 California attorneys On the Fast Track by the Recorder in June 2012. She is an active leader in the American Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section and Employee Benefits Committee, where she has repeatedly spoken at conferences, served as track coordinator, and co-chaired committees including the Leadership Development Program Committee, the National Programs Committee, the Marketing Committee, and the Benefit Claims and Individual Rights Subcommittee. From 2013-2014, Cassie served as Governor-at-Large for the California Women Lawyers Board of Governors.
Notable Appellate Decisions: In addition to her federal district court litigation, Cassie maintains a robust appellate practice. Notable decisions include Barboza v. Ca. Ass n of Professional Firefighters,2014 WL 6766687, 594 Fed. Appx 903 (9th Cir. 2014) (concerning the question of offsets to disability benefits an ordering an award of prejudgment interest in an amount to be determined on remand to the district court);Nolan v. Heald College, 551 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. 2009) (holding that traditional summary judgment rules apply in evaluating an administrator’s conflict of interest and permitting bench trials with live testimony on the issue), on remand, 745 F. Supp. 2d 916, 2010 WL 1837805 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2010) (awarding long-term disability benefits and finding that MetLife operated under a conflict of interest and abused its discretion);Saffon v. Wells Fargo & Co. Long Term Disability Plan, 511 F.3d 1206 (9th Cir. 2008) (holding that insurers must engage in a clear communications process in administering ERISA benefit claims);Abatie v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., 458 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2006) (en banc) (overruling previous Ninth Circuit precedent to determine that where a plan administrator operates under a financial conflict of interest, courts must review the administrator’s benefits decisions with skepticism).
- Senior Editor, ERISA Disability Litigation (BNA, forthcoming 2017)
- Author, Insurance Benefits in ERISA Litigation (BNA, 2014).
- Author, Once an ERISA Plan, Always an ERISA Plan in July 2014 Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter.
- Author, NFL flying too high with its disability plan in September 30, 2013 Daily Journal commentary on the ERISA governed NFL plan.
- Contributing Author, Benefit Claims and Individual Rights, Sacher, et al., Employee Benefits Law (BNA).
- Rewrite Author and Editor, Benefit Claims and Individual Rights, Sacher, et al., Cumulative Supplement of Employee Benefits Law, 2nd Ed (BNA).
Recent Speaking Engagements:
- Speaker, New Disability Regulations: American Bar Association 2017 Midwinter Meeting of the Employee Benefits Committee, February 9-11, Austin, Texas.
- Moderator, American Bar Association 2017 Midwinter Meeting of the Employee Benefits Committee, February 9-11, Austin, Texas.
- Speaker, Miss-Manners: Women and Sexism in Law, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, January 12, San Francisco, California.
- Speaker, How to Apply for Disability with a Vestibular Disorder: Vestibular Disorders Association Webinar, April 24, 2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT.
- Speaker, Benefits Administration—Issues Unique to Long-Term Disability Claims: Advanced ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation Conference, June 9, Chicago, Illinois.
- Speaker, Marketing for Kick-Ass Women Lawyers: Palo Alto Lean In Circle Meeting, April 5.
- Speaker, Filing Benefit Claims: Advanced ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation Conference, June 9, Chicago, Illinois.
- Speaker, Marketing for Kick-Ass Women Lawyers: Santa Clara County Bar Association Lawyer Lean In Annual Meeting, June 15.
- Speaker, Remedies Under ERISA, Ethics, and QDROs at National Institute on ERISA Basics, October 27-28, Chicago, Illinois.
- Speaker, ERISA Remedial Scheme and 502(a)(3) Claims, American Conference Institute s 12th National Forum on ERISA Litigation, June 2016.
- Speaker, Finding Your Personal Brand in the Face of Stereotypes, University of California Hastings College of the Law, CELA 5th Annual Diversity Leadership Summit, May 2016.
- Speaker, University of California, Hastings College of the law, Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (MLPS), April 2016.
- Moderator, Effective PowerPoint Presentations: How to Cogently Relay Information while Entertaining Your Audience at an August 2015 ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Leadership Development Program Webinar.
- Speaker, Benefit Claims Update at the February 2015 Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, sponsored by the ABA.
- Speaker, Marketing for Successful Women Attorneys at a July 2014 luncheon sponsored by FindLaw.
- Speaker, Filing Long-Term Disability Administrative Claims and Administrative Appeals of Long-Term Disability Claims, at the June 20, 2014 ABA and Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Long-Term Disability Benefits Advanced Seminar.
- Speaker, Defending ERISA Conflict of Interest Discovery Requests at a Strafford Publications Webinar on March 27, 2014.
Please connect! LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benefitslaw