Greta E. Cowart

Shareholder
Dallas
500 Winstead Building
2728 N. Harwood Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
214.745.5275 Direct
214.745.5390 Fax
gcowart@winstead.com
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Profile

Greta Cowart is known for advising on and resolving complex employee benefit plan issues, defending employers and service providers in government agency audits, and for advising employers and benefit plan service providers regarding many issues including under ERISA, the tax Code, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (health reform), and for considering how choices under employee benefits laws impact an employer under other laws and in its business operations, including issues unique to operating with collectively bargained workforces. Practicing for 28 years, Greta has resolved significant employee benefit issues through the various voluntary compliance programs. Through her work as a prior Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, she has worked with the technical provisions governing retirement plans and executive compensation. Greta has also worked extensively with Code section governing nonqualified deferred compensation, and other employee benefits issues. Greta's extensive knowledge of employee benefits and executive compensation provides her with the background to assist corporations quickly with plan design and administration issues, including litigation of benefit disputes. Greta regularly speaks at continuing legal education programs and writes on current legal developments in employee benefits.

Representative Experience

Greta has extensive experience representing plan sponsors, plan administrators and benefit appeal committees including: 

  • Representing health care system in an Internal Revenue Service team audit of all of its retirement, welfare, fringe benefit and executive plans. 
  • Representing state school system in Internal Revenue Service audit of its 403(b) and 457 plans. 
  • Representing service providers to employee benefit plans through governmental audits.
  • Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service to correct violations in 401(k), defined benefit and other qualified retirement plans, and 403(b) plans, and for COBRA violations and to fix complex qualified plan issues. 
  • Representing numerous clients successfully through U.S. Department of Labor audits of their 401(k), ESOPs, pension plans, health and welfare benefit plans. 
  • Representing clients in outsourcing of benefits. 
  • Assisting clients with reversing outsourcing of benefits administration. 
  • Obtaining private letter rulings resolving difficult defined benefit plan issues. 
  • Representing clients in connection with collective bargaining grievances related to benefits and other related issues. 
  • Representing corporations on merger strategy and benefit plan and human resource integration negotiation teams. 
  • Counseling employers regarding health care reform and structuring staffing to prepare for the pay or play penalty tax and regarding health plan benefit design and options under health care reform.
  • Represents employers through the process of selection of vendors, contracting with vendors and management of the vendor relationship.
  • Counseled hospitality industry client in corporate restructuring and $1.1 billion refinancing.
  • Working with corporations analyzing their nonqualified deferred compensation issues under Code section 409A and developing alternate designs. 
  • Analyzing extensive health plan issues under health care reform, COBRA, HIPAA portability, GINA, Michelle’s Law, ADA, HIPAA privacy, HITECH and other laws. 
  • Analyzing employer health plan and employer medical function operations and compliance issues under HIPAA Privacy and Security regulations and applicable state laws.
  • Providing expert opinion to plan administrator in contested appeal of health plan benefit denial. 
  • Assisting corporations and managed care organizations regarding legal operating issues related to employee benefit plans.
  • Representing plan fiduciaries in connection with U.S. Department of Labor Audits.
  • Counseling clients with collectively bargained workforces regarding benefits issues considering collateral implications under collective bargaining agreements and applicable labor laws.
Industries
    Bar Admissions
    • Indiana, 1985
    • Texas, 1995
    Languages
    Education
    Indiana University School of Law
    • J.D., 1985
    • cum laude
    Indiana University
    • B.S., Accounting, 1982
    • with high distinction
    Professional & Community Involvement
    • State Bar of Texas
    • American Law Institute (2004-present) CLE Committee Chair (2012-) Curriculum Advisory Committee Employee Benefits (2009-)
    • American Bar Association, Taxation Section, Employee Benefits Committee, Chair (2006-2007); Chair Elect (2005-2006); Vice Chair (2002-2005); Chair COBRA Subcommittee (1997-2002)
    • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
    • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, Fellow (2005-present)
    • American College of Tax Counsel, Fellow (2012-present)
    • Indiana Bar Foundation, Fellow (1995-present)
    • Dallas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow (2009-present)
    • ALI-ABA Curriculum Advisory Panel (2009-present)
    • Indiana State Bar Association, Chair, Section of Taxation (1994-1995)
    • BNA Pension and Benefits Advisory Board (2007-present)
    • SouthWest Benefits Association, Board Member (1998-2001); Chair, Education Committee (1998-2001)
    • King of Glory Lutheran Church, Member (2000-present); Finance Committee Co-Chair (2005-2006); Adult Education Committee (2005-2011); Adult Education teacher (2005-present) 
    • Arcadia Foundation, Board Member (199-2003); Chair (2001-2003)
    • Dallas Arboretum, Blooming Beds Committee (2012-)
    • Briarwood Retreat Center, Board Member (1998-2001)
    • Attorneys Serving the Community
    • Dallas Ramp Project
    • Member, U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Health Insurance Program Working Group (2009-2011)
    • Indiana University Maurer School of Law Alumni Board (2010-present)
    • Indiana University, Class of 1982, Class Campaign Committee Member (2007)
    • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Leonard D. Fromm Memorial Fund Class Leadership Team (2013-)
    Awards & Recognition
    • Best Women Lawyers in Dallas for ERISA, D Magazine, 2010
    • Best Business Lawyer in Dallas, Employee Benefits/ERISA, D Magazine, 2009, 2011-2012
    • Best Lawyers in America, Employee Benefits, 2006-2014
    • Texas Super Lawyer, Texas Monthly, 2005-2011, 2013
    • Burton Award for Legal Achievement for "Standing at the Crossroads of ERISA and the Railway Labor Act: Choosing the Right Track and Avoiding Collateral Damage," BNA Insights, 2012
    • BNA Insight Award for "Health Care Reform: Is it Really Advantageous to Maintain a Grandfathered Group Health Plan," Pension & Benefits Daily, 2010
    • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell
    Presentation Topics