The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Doctors Hospital owners David and Chris LeBlanc in an effort to recover more than $18,000 in employee retirement contributions and employee-paid premiums for medical and disability insurance coverage. The department’s lawsuit alleges that the LeBlancs violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by using assets belonging to the employee retirement and insurance plans for the benefit of their business operations.

"The defendants had a duty to manage and protect their employees’ benefit plans and their assets, and they failed to do that," said Deborah Perry, director of the Dallas Regional Office of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, which investigated this case. "The department will take every action necessary to restore plan assets that were not properly preserved for the company’s workers."

Doctors Hospital of Shreveport was a small, specialty hospital that ceased operations in February 2010. An EBSA investigation revealed that for three months prior to its closing, the defendants used employee retirement contributions and insurance premium payments to run the hospital and pay creditors. The department seeks a court order requiring the restoration of all plan losses and barring the LeBlancs from serving in any capacity in an employee benefit plan.

At the time of the violations, more than 50 employee participants were affected by the missing retirement contributions and insurance premium payments. The department’s complaint was filed by the Dallas Regional Solicitor’s Office.

Employers and workers can reach EBSA’s Dallas office at 972-850-4500 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private-sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found on the Labor Department's website.