Cassie Springer Ayeni
Top Rated Employee Benefits Attorney in San Leandro, CA
Selected to Rising Stars: 2010 - 2012
Attorney Cassie Springer Ayeni is the president of the law firm of Springer Ayeni in Oakland, California. Ms. Ayeni focuses her practice exclusively on ERISA claims and employee benefits law, serving clients throughout the Bay Area of California.
Ms. Aveni has 20 years of experience, practicing employee benefit law for her entire legal career. She is passionate about serving individuals with disability, medical and life insurance claims under ERISA. She has extensive ERISA knowledge and a strong record of accomplishment of persuading insurance companies to reverse their denial of benefits.
Putting her acquired knowledge to good use, Ms. Ayeni regularly lectures and writes on ERISA and employee benefit issues. She is the 2019-2022 co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section. She earned recognition by groups including the Daily Journal and the National Trial Lawyers, who included her on their list of the “Top 40 Under 40” attorneys.
An active member of the American Bar Association, Ms. Ayeni is also a former co-chair of committees including the benefit claims and individual rights sub-committee, the leadership development program committee, the marketing committee, the member services committee and the national programs committee. In addition, she is a previous governor-at-large for the Board of Governors of the California Women Lawyers. Is is an Executive Board Member of the Alameda and Contra Costa County Trial Lawyers Association (ACCTLA).
Ms. Ayeni earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She obtained her license to practice law in 2002.
- 100%Employee Benefits
- Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2022
- Rising Stars: 2010 - 2012
- Top 100: 2022 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2022 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2021 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2020 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2019 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2018 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2018 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2017 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2016 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 100: 2015 Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2015 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
- Top 50: 2014 Women Northern California Super Lawyers
About Cassie Springer Ayeni
First Admitted: 2002, California
Professional Webpage: http://www.benefitslaw.com/team/cassie-springer-ayeni/
- ABA Employee Benefits Committee (speaker, author, 2006-2013 co-chair of individual rights subcommittee) ABA Labor & Employment Law Section (co-chair of Marketing Committee, Leadership Development Program Committee (2012-2014); National Programming Committee (2011-2012); Law Student Outreach Task Force (2009-2011) Governor-at-Large for the California Women Lawyers (2013-2014 Board of Governors) Alameda County Women Lawyers Association.
- Ms. Springer is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa (1999)
- Ms. Springer's notable decisions include Nolan v. Heald College, 551 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. Jan. 13, 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); 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”); Carstens v. U.S. Shoe Corporation’s Long-Term Benefits Disability Plan, 520 F. Supp. 2d 1165 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (holding that the administrator could not offset the participant’s disability benefits by the amount of her son’s Social Security benefit); Caplan v. CNA Short Term Disability Plan, 479 F. Supp. 2d 1108 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (holding that Plaintiff could simultaneously proceed with claims for breach of fiduciary duty and benefits where each claim sought different relief); Patel v. Sugen, Inc., 354 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (holding employees’ claims for severance benefits not preempted by ERISA); Fleming v. Kemper Nat. Services, Inc., 373 F. Supp. 2d 1000 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (awarding attorneys’ fees, costs, and prejudgment interest); Fleming v. Kemper Natl. Services, Inc., 320 F. Supp. 2d 951 (N.D. Cal. 2004) (granting Plaintiff’s motion for summary adjudication as to the standard of review because defendants did not comply with the applicable Department of Labor Regulations in administering Plaintiff’s claim); and Cherene v. First American Financial Corp. Long-Term Disability Plan, 303 F. Supp. 2d 1030 (N.D. Cal. 2004) (holding material and substantial evidence of defendants’ conflict of interest existed; dismissing defendants’ reimbursement counter-claim).
- Hasten v. Prudential, ---F. Supp. 3d ---, 2020 WL 3786229 (N.D. Cal. Jul. 6, 2020) (determining that Plaintiff was entitled to file suit where Defendant failed to strictly adhere to the ERISA Regulations’ deadlines for decisions). Shaikh v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 445 F. Supp. 3d 1 (N.D. Cal. 2020) (awarding disability benefits where the insurer failed to account for consistent pain complaints). Shaikh v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 2020 WL 3402247 (N.D. Cal. June 19, 2020) (awarding $124,278.75 in attorneys’ fees). , 2020
- 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), 2014
- Selected for work in helping disabled individuals obtain their benefits., Unity Award, Minority Bar Coalition, 2018
- One of 50 California attorneys On the Fast Track by the Recorder in June 2012
- Selected by the Northern District of California to serve on the Northern District of California's ADR panel as a mediator., ND Cal Panel Mediator, 2019
- Top 50 Women attorney in Northern California by the same publication in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014
- Super Lawyers, 2015
- Selected as a "Top 20 under 40" attorney by the Daily Journal in 2012, Top 20 under 40, Daily Journal, 2012
- Top 100 attorney in Northern California in 2017
- Chosen as a lifetime achievement recipient, Lifetime Achievement, America's Top 100 Attorneys, 2016
- Selected to be an inaugural member of the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section's Leadership Development Program, 2009
- Chosen as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2014, Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2014
- Selected as a "Top 40 under 40" attorney for the National Trial Lawyers in 2014, Top 40 under 40, National Trial Lawyers, 2014
- Chosen as one of 25 California attorneys "On the Fast Track" by the Recorder in 2012, 25 on the Fast Track, The Recorder, 2012
- In-depth interview with legal giant Pamela Price on her career, advice, and goals., Author, Pamela Price: With a Backbone of Steel and a Passion for Justice, Ms. Price Embarks on Her Next Chapter, ACCTLA, Attorneys, 2022
- Publications:Author, “Insurance Benefits” in ERISA Litigation Treatise. 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). Author, “Employee Benefit Plans Governed by ERISA,” Dividing Pensions and Other Employee Benefits in California Divorces (CEB Dec. 2006). Co-author, “Employee Benefits,” California Domestic Partnerships (CEB 2005) (treatise received the 2006 award for Professional Excellence from the Association for Continuing Legal Education).Speaking Engagements:2016: ERISA's Remedial Scheme, ACI Finding Your Personal Brand in the Face of Stereotypes, CELA Diversity Leadership Summit UC Hastings Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors 2015: Benefit Claims Update, Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, sponsored by the ABA Effective PowerPoint Presentations," ABA-LEL Leadership Development Program2014: “Marketing for Successful Women Attorneys” at a July 2014 luncheon sponsored by FindLaw. “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. “Defending ERISA Conflict of Interest Discovery Requests” at a Strafford Publications Webinar on March 27, 2014.2013:“Benefit Claims Litigation: From Claims Review to Standard of Review and Discovery and Dispositive Motions”; “Civil Litigation Practice Pointers” at the 2013 ERISA Litigation National Institute conference, sponsored by the ABA and Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. “Benefits Administration” at the Long-Term Disability Benefits Advanced Seminar, sponsored by the ABA and Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. “The Business and Ethics of Hanging Out Your Shingle” at the November 2013 ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Annual CLE Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.2012: “Civil Litigation Practice Pointers,” at the 2012 ERISA Litigation Conference, sponsored by the ABA and Joint Committee on Employee Benefits. Moderator, “The Business of You: Marketing Yourself and Developing Your Brand” at the April 2012 California Women Lawyers’ Annual Conference. “Deposition of a Plan Administrator,” at the 2012 Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, sponsored by the ABA. Speaker,2011:“What Every Reasonably Insecure Attorney Should Know About ERISA,” at the November 2011 ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Annual CLE Conference. “Building a Fulfilling Career: Lessons for Success” at the April 2011 California Women Lawyers’ Annual Conference. “Conkright and the Ever-Evolving Standard of Review,” at the 2011 Midwinter Meeting of the Section of Labor & Employment Law Employee Benefits Committee, sponsored by the ABA.
- Roundtable on work-life balance for lawyer moms, Co-Author, “ACCTLA Lawyer Moms’ Roundtable: More than Balance”, The Verdict, Attorneys, 2018
- Explaining ERISA disability cases for non-ERISA practitioners, Author, ERISA Disability Traps and Tricks, 2017
- Author, “Message from New EBC Plaintiff Co-Chair, Cassie Springer Ayeni,” (EBC Newsletter, Dec. 2019) Author, “Personal Injury Subrogation Claims Under ERISA: Hawaii Does the Work, and the Ninth Circuit Gets ERISA,” (EBC Newsletter, Dec. 2019); Author, “Getting to Know Hon. Tara Flanagan” (The Verdict, Spring 2019) , 2019
- Sole author of article analyzing COVID-19 statistics and likely impact on long-term disability cases., Author, COVID-19 and Long-term Disability Cases: As the Numbers Rise, So Will the Disability Claims of COVID Long-haulers, CAOC Forum Magazine, Attorneys, 2020
Pro bono/Community Service
- March of Dimes, Bay Area Division (2010 Bay Area Ambassador; 2014 March for Babies Keynote Speaker)
Last Updated: 5/15/2022