29 U.S.C. § 1132 : US Code - Section 1132: Civil enforcement

    (a) Persons empowered to bring a civil action
      A civil action may be brought - 
        (1) by a participant or beneficiary - 
          (A) for the relief provided for in subsection (c) of this
        section, or
          (B) to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his
        plan, to enforce his rights under the terms of the plan, or to
        clarify his rights to future benefits under the terms of the
        plan;

        (2) by the Secretary, or by a participant, beneficiary or
      fiduciary for appropriate relief under section 1109 of this
      title;
        (3) by a participant, beneficiary, or fiduciary (A) to enjoin
      any act or practice which violates any provision of this
      subchapter or the terms of the plan, or (B) to obtain other
      appropriate equitable relief (i) to redress such violations or
      (ii) to enforce any provisions of this subchapter or the terms of
      the plan;
        (4) by the Secretary, or by a participant, or beneficiary for
      appropriate relief in the case of a violation of 1025(c) of this
      title;
        (5) except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this
      section, by the Secretary (A) to enjoin any act or practice which
      violates any provision of this subchapter, or (B) to obtain other
      appropriate equitable relief (i) to redress such violation or
      (ii) to enforce any provision of this subchapter;
        (6) by the Secretary to collect any civil penalty under
      paragraph (2), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (9) of subsection (c)
      of this section or under subsection (i) or (l) of this section;
        (7) by a State to enforce compliance with a qualified medical
      child support order (as defined in section 1169(a)(2)(A) of this
      title);
        (8) by the Secretary, or by an employer or other person
      referred to in section 1021(f)(1) of this title, (A) to enjoin
      any act or practice which violates subsection (f) of section 1021
      of this title, or (B) to obtain appropriate equitable relief (i)
      to redress such violation or (ii) to enforce such subsection;
        (9) in the event that the purchase of an insurance contract or
      insurance annuity in connection with termination of an
      individual's status as a participant covered under a pension plan
      with respect to all or any portion of the participant's pension
      benefit under such plan constitutes a violation of part 4 of this
      title (!1) or the terms of the plan, by the Secretary, by any
      individual who was a participant or beneficiary at the time of
      the alleged violation, or by a fiduciary, to obtain appropriate
      relief, including the posting of security if necessary, to assure
      receipt by the participant or beneficiary of the amounts provided
      or to be provided by such insurance contract or annuity, plus
      reasonable prejudgment interest on such amounts; or

        (10) in the case of a multiemployer plan that has been
      certified by the actuary to be in endangered or critical status
      under section 1085 of this title, if the plan sponsor - 
          (A) has not adopted a funding improvement or rehabilitation
        plan under that section by the deadline established in such
        section, or
          (B) fails to update or comply with the terms of the funding
        improvement or rehabilitation plan in accordance with the
        requirements of such section,

      by an employer that has an obligation to contribute with respect
      to the multiemployer plan or an employee organization that
      represents active participants in the multiemployer plan, for an
      order compelling the plan sponsor to adopt a funding improvement
      or rehabilitation plan or to update or comply with the terms of
      the funding improvement or rehabilitation plan in accordance with
      the requirements of such section and the funding improvement or
      rehabilitation plan.
    (b) Plans qualified under Internal Revenue Code; maintenance of
      actions involving delinquent contributions
      (1) In the case of a plan which is qualified under section
    401(a), 403(a), or 405(a) (!2) of title 26 (or with respect to
    which an application to so qualify has been filed and has not been
    finally determined) the Secretary may exercise his authority under
    subsection (a)(5) of this section with respect to a violation of,
    or the enforcement of, parts 2 and 3 of this subtitle (relating to
    participation, vesting, and funding), only if - 

        (A) requested by the Secretary of the Treasury, or
        (B) one or more participants, beneficiaries, or fiduciaries, of
      such plan request in writing (in such manner as the Secretary
      shall prescribe by regulation) that he exercise such authority on
      their behalf. In the case of such a request under this paragraph
      he may exercise such authority only if he determines that such
      violation affects, or such enforcement is necessary to protect,
      claims of participants or beneficiaries to benefits under the
      plan.

      (2) The Secretary shall not initiate an action to enforce section
    1145 of this title.
      (3) Except as provided in subsections (c)(9) and (a)(6) (with
    respect to collecting civil penalties under subsection (c)(9)), the
    Secretary is not authorized to enforce under this part any
    requirement of part 7 against a health insurance issuer offering
    health insurance coverage in connection with a group health plan
    (as defined in section 1191b(a)(1) of this title). Nothing in this
    paragraph shall affect the authority of the Secretary to issue
    regulations to carry out such part.
    (c) Administrator's refusal to supply requested information;
      penalty for failure to provide annual report in complete form
      (1) Any administrator (A) who fails to meet the requirements of
    paragraph (1) or (4) of section 1166 (!2) of this title, section
    1021(e)(1) of this title, section 1021(f) of this title, or section
    1025(a) of this title with respect to a participant or beneficiary,
    or (B) who fails or refuses to comply with a request for any
    information which such administrator is required by this subchapter
    to furnish to a participant or beneficiary (unless such failure or
    refusal results from matters reasonably beyond the control of the
    administrator) by mailing the material requested to the last known
    address of the requesting participant or beneficiary within 30 days
    after such request may in the court's discretion be personally
    liable to such participant or beneficiary in the amount of up to
    $100 a day from the date of such failure or refusal, and the court
    may in its discretion order such other relief as it deems proper.
    For purposes of this paragraph, each violation described in
    subparagraph (A) with respect to any single participant, and each
    violation described in subparagraph (B) with respect to any single
    participant or beneficiary, shall be treated as a separate
    violation.
      (2) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty against any plan
    administrator of up to $1,000 a day from the date of such plan
    administrator's failure or refusal to file the annual report
    required to be filed with the Secretary under section 1021(b)(1) of
    this title. For purposes of this paragraph, an annual report that
    has been rejected under section 1024(a)(4) of this title for
    failure to provide material information shall not be treated as
    having been filed with the Secretary.
      (3) Any employer maintaining a plan who fails to meet the notice
    requirement of section 1021(d) of this title with respect to any
    participant or beneficiary or who fails to meet the requirements of
    section 1021(e)(2) of this title with respect to any person or who
    fails to meet the requirements of section 1082(d)(12)(E) (!2) of
    this title with respect to any person may in the court's discretion
    be liable to such participant or beneficiary or to such person in
    the amount of up to $100 a day from the date of such failure, and
    the court may in its discretion order such other relief as it deems
    proper.
      (4) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty of not more than
    $1,000 a day for each violation by any person of subsection (j),
    (k), or (l) of section 1021 of this title or section 1144(e)(3) of
    this title.
      (5) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty against any person
    of up to $1,000 a day from the date of the person's failure or
    refusal to file the information required to be filed by such person
    with the Secretary under regulations prescribed pursuant to section
    1021(g) of this title.
      (6) If, within 30 days of a request by the Secretary to a plan
    administrator for documents under section 1024(a)(6) of this title,
    the plan administrator fails to furnish the material requested to
    the Secretary, the Secretary may assess a civil penalty against the
    plan administrator of up to $100 a day from the date of such
    failure (but in no event in excess of $1,000 per request). No
    penalty shall be imposed under this paragraph for any failure
    resulting from matters reasonably beyond the control of the plan
    administrator.
      (7) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty against a plan
    administrator of up to $100 a day from the date of the plan
    administrator's failure or refusal to provide notice to
    participants and beneficiaries in accordance with subsection (i) or
    (m) of section 1021 of this title. For purposes of this paragraph,
    each violation with respect to any single participant or
    beneficiary shall be treated as a separate violation.
      (8) The Secretary may assess against any plan sponsor of a
    multiemployer plan a civil penalty of not more than $1,100 per day -
     
        (A) for each violation by such sponsor of the requirement under
      section 1085 of this title to adopt by the deadline established
      in that section a funding improvement plan or rehabilitation plan
      with respect to a multiemployer plan which is in endangered or
      critical status, or
        (B) in the case of a plan in endangered status which is not in
      seriously endangered status, for failure by the plan to meet the
      applicable benchmarks under section 1085 of this title by the end
      of the funding improvement period with respect to the plan.

      (9)(A) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty against any
    employer of up to $100 a day from the date of the employer's
    failure to meet the notice requirement of section
    1181(f)(3)(B)(i)(I) of this title. For purposes of this
    subparagraph, each violation with respect to any single employee
    shall be treated as a separate violation.
      (B) The Secretary may assess a civil penalty against any plan
    administrator of up to $100 a day from the date of the plan
    administrator's failure to timely provide to any State the
    information required to be disclosed under section
    1181(f)(3)(B)(ii) of this title. For purposes of this subparagraph,
    each violation with respect to any single participant or
    beneficiary shall be treated as a separate violation.
      (10) (!3) Secretarial enforcement authority relating to use of
    genetic information. - 

        (A) General rule. - The Secretary may impose a penalty against
      any plan sponsor of a group health plan, or any health insurance
      issuer offering health insurance coverage in connection with the
      plan, for any failure by such sponsor or issuer to meet the
      requirements of subsection (a)(1)(F), (b)(3), (c), or (d) of
      section 1182 of this title or section 1181 or 1182(b)(1) of this
      title with respect to genetic information, in connection with the
      plan.
        (B) Amount. - 
          (i) In general. - The amount of the penalty imposed by
        subparagraph (A) shall be $100 for each day in the
        noncompliance period with respect to each participant or
        beneficiary to whom such failure relates.
          (ii) Noncompliance period. - For purposes of this paragraph,
        the term "noncompliance period" means, with respect to any
        failure, the period - 
            (I) beginning on the date such failure first occurs; and
            (II) ending on the date the failure is corrected.

        (C) Minimum penalties where failure discovered. -
      Notwithstanding clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (D):
          (i) In general. - In the case of 1 or more failures with
        respect to a participant or beneficiary - 
            (I) which are not corrected before the date on which the
          plan receives a notice from the Secretary of such violation;
          and
            (II) which occurred or continued during the period
          involved;

        the amount of penalty imposed by subparagraph (A) by reason of
        such failures with respect to such participant or beneficiary
        shall not be less than $2,500.
          (ii) Higher minimum penalty where violations are more than de
        minimis. - To the extent violations for which any person is
        liable under this paragraph for any year are more than de
        minimis, clause (i) shall be applied by substituting "$15,000"
        for "$2,500" with respect to such person.

        (D) Limitations. - 
          (i) Penalty not to apply where failure not discovered
        exercising reasonable diligence. - No penalty shall be imposed
        by subparagraph (A) on any failure during any period for which
        it is established to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the
        person otherwise liable for such penalty did not know, and
        exercising reasonable diligence would not have known, that such
        failure existed.
          (ii) Penalty not to apply to failures corrected within
        certain periods. - No penalty shall be imposed by subparagraph
        (A) on any failure if - 
            (I) such failure was due to reasonable cause and not to
          willful neglect; and
            (II) such failure is corrected during the 30-day period
          beginning on the first date the person otherwise liable for
          such penalty knew, or exercising reasonable diligence would
          have known, that such failure existed.

          (iii) Overall limitation for unintentional failures. - In the
        case of failures which are due to reasonable cause and not to
        willful neglect, the penalty imposed by subparagraph (A) for
        failures shall not exceed the amount equal to the lesser of - 
            (I) 10 percent of the aggregate amount paid or incurred by
          the plan sponsor (or predecessor plan sponsor) during the
          preceding taxable year for group health plans; or
            (II) $500,000.

        (E) Waiver by secretary. - In the case of a failure which is
      due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, the Secretary
      may waive part or all of the penalty imposed by subparagraph (A)
      to the extent that the payment of such penalty would be excessive
      relative to the failure involved.
        (F) Definitions. - Terms used in this paragraph which are
      defined in section 1191b of this title shall have the meanings
      provided such terms in such section.

      (10) (!3) The Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human
    Services shall maintain such ongoing consultation as may be
    necessary and appropriate to coordinate enforcement under this
    subsection with enforcement under section 1320b-14(c)(8) (!2) of
    title 42.
    (d) Status of employee benefit plan as entity
      (1) An employee benefit plan may sue or be sued under this
    subchapter as an entity. Service of summons, subpena, or other
    legal process of a court upon a trustee or an administrator of an
    employee benefit plan in his capacity as such shall constitute
    service upon the employee benefit plan. In a case where a plan has
    not designated in the summary plan description of the plan an
    individual as agent for the service of legal process, service upon
    the Secretary shall constitute such service. The Secretary, not
    later than 15 days after receipt of service under the preceding
    sentence, shall notify the administrator or any trustee of the plan
    of receipt of such service.
      (2) Any money judgment under this subchapter against an employee
    benefit plan shall be enforceable only against the plan as an
    entity and shall not be enforceable against any other person unless
    liability against such person is established in his individual
    capacity under this subchapter.
    (e) Jurisdiction
      (1) Except for actions under subsection (a)(1)(B) of this
    section, the district courts of the United States shall have
    exclusive jurisdiction of civil actions under this subchapter
    brought by the Secretary or by a participant, beneficiary,
    fiduciary, or any person referred to in section 1021(f)(1) of this
    title. State courts of competent jurisdiction and district courts
    of the United States shall have concurrent jurisdiction of actions
    under paragraphs (1)(B) and (7) of subsection (a) of this section.
      (2) Where an action under this subchapter is brought in a
    district court of the United States, it may be brought in the
    district where the plan is administered, where the breach took
    place, or where a defendant resides or may be found, and process
    may be served in any other district where a defendant resides or
    may be found.
    (f) Amount in controversy; citizenship of parties
      The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction,
    without respect to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of
    the parties, to grant the relief provided for in subsection (a) of
    this section in any action.
    (g) Attorney's fees and costs; awards in actions involving
      delinquent contributions
      (1) In any action under this subchapter (other than an action
    described in paragraph (2)) by a participant, beneficiary, or
    fiduciary, the court in its discretion may allow a reasonable
    attorney's fee and costs of action to either party.
      (2) In any action under this subchapter by a fiduciary for or on
    behalf of a plan to enforce section 1145 of this title in which a
    judgment in favor of the plan is awarded, the court shall award the
    plan - 
        (A) the unpaid contributions,
        (B) interest on the unpaid contributions,
        (C) an amount equal to the greater of - 
          (i) interest on the unpaid contributions, or
          (ii) liquidated damages provided for under the plan in an
        amount not in excess of 20 percent (or such higher percentage
        as may be permitted under Federal or State law) of the amount
        determined by the court under subparagraph (A),

        (D) reasonable attorney's fees and costs of the action, to be
      paid by the defendant, and
        (E) such other legal or equitable relief as the court deems
      appropriate.

    For purposes of this paragraph, interest on unpaid contributions
    shall be determined by using the rate provided under the plan, or,
    if none, the rate prescribed under section 6621 of title 26.
    (h) Service upon Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury
      A copy of the complaint in any action under this subchapter by a
    participant, beneficiary, or fiduciary (other than an action
    brought by one or more participants or beneficiaries under
    subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section which is solely for the
    purpose of recovering benefits due such participants under the
    terms of the plan) shall be served upon the Secretary and the
    Secretary of the Treasury by certified mail. Either Secretary shall
    have the right in his discretion to intervene in any action, except
    that the Secretary of the Treasury may not intervene in any action
    under part 4 of this subtitle. If the Secretary brings an action
    under subsection (a) of this section on behalf of a participant or
    beneficiary, he shall notify the Secretary of the Treasury.
    (i) Administrative assessment of civil penalty
      In the case of a transaction prohibited by section 1106 of this
    title by a party in interest with respect to a plan to which this
    part applies, the Secretary may assess a civil penalty against such
    party in interest. The amount of such penalty may not exceed 5
    percent of the amount involved in each such transaction (as defined
    in section 4975(f)(4) of title 26) for each year or part thereof
    during which the prohibited transaction continues, except that, if
    the transaction is not corrected (in such manner as the Secretary
    shall prescribe in regulations which shall be consistent with
    section 4975(f)(5) of title 26) within 90 days after notice from
    the Secretary (or such longer period as the Secretary may permit),
    such penalty may be in an amount not more than 100 percent of the
    amount involved. This subsection shall not apply to a transaction
    with respect to a plan described in section 4975(e)(1) of title 26.
    (j) Direction and control of litigation by Attorney General
      In all civil actions under this subchapter, attorneys appointed
    by the Secretary may represent the Secretary (except as provided in
    section 518(a) of title 28), but all such litigation shall be
    subject to the direction and control of the Attorney General.
    (k) Jurisdiction of actions against the Secretary of Labor
      Suits by an administrator, fiduciary, participant, or beneficiary
    of an employee benefit plan to review a final order of the
    Secretary, to restrain the Secretary from taking any action
    contrary to the provisions of this chapter, or to compel him to
    take action required under this subchapter, may be brought in the
    district court of the United States for the district where the plan
    has its principal office, or in the United States District Court
    for the District of Columbia.
    (l) Civil penalties on violations by fiduciaries
      (1) In the case of - 
        (A) any breach of fiduciary responsibility under (or other
      violation of) part 4 of this subtitle by a fiduciary, or
        (B) any knowing participation in such a breach or violation by
      any other person,

    the Secretary shall assess a civil penalty against such fiduciary
    or other person in an amount equal to 20 percent of the applicable
    recovery amount.
      (2) For purposes of paragraph (1), the term "applicable recovery
    amount" means any amount which is recovered from a fiduciary or
    other person with respect to a breach or violation described in
    paragraph (1) - 
        (A) pursuant to any settlement agreement with the Secretary, or
        (B) ordered by a court to be paid by such fiduciary or other
      person to a plan or its participants and beneficiaries in a
      judicial proceeding instituted by the Secretary under subsection
      (a)(2) or (a)(5) of this section.

      (3) The Secretary may, in the Secretary's sole discretion, waive
    or reduce the penalty under paragraph (1) if the Secretary
    determines in writing that - 
        (A) the fiduciary or other person acted reasonably and in good
      faith, or
        (B) it is reasonable to expect that the fiduciary or other
      person will not be able to restore all losses to the plan (or to
      provide the relief ordered pursuant to subsection (a)(9) of this
      section) without severe financial hardship unless such waiver or
      reduction is granted.

      (4) The penalty imposed on a fiduciary or other person under this
    subsection with respect to any transaction shall be reduced by the
    amount of any penalty or tax imposed on such fiduciary or other
    person with respect to such transaction under subsection (i) of
    this section and section 4975 of title 26.
    (m) Penalty for improper distribution
      In the case of a distribution to a pension plan participant or
    beneficiary in violation of section 1056(e) of this title by a plan
    fiduciary, the Secretary shall assess a penalty against such
    fiduciary in an amount equal to the value of the distribution. Such
    penalty shall not exceed $10,000 for each such distribution.