Gretchen Obrist


1201 Third Avenue, Suite 3200 Seattle, Washington 98101 

P: 206.623.1900
F: 206.623.3384


Gretchen Obrist provides her clients with a clear voice in complex cases. Gretchen is a partner in Keller Rohrback’s nationally recognized Complex Litigation Group whose work as a dedicated advocate dates back two decades to her role at a nonprofit organization focused on impact litigation.

With her work as a law clerk and as a litigator, Gretchen has significant experience with a broad range of federal cases at all stages. Her nationwide practice focuses on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) fiduciary breach and prohibited transaction cases. Gretchen’s work has helped curtail excessive and conflict-ridden fees in the multi-trillion dollar retirement savings industry and provide recourse to retirement plan participants and beneficiaries who have faced pension reductions, misrepresentations, and other unfair practices related to their retirement plan benefits. Gretchen’s ERISA experience includes a successful appeal to the Eighth Circuit in Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reversing dismissal of the lead plaintiff’s excessive fee case, significant contributions to cases challenging cash balance pension plan conversions by Washington Mutual and JPMorgan, and representation of the employees who lost nearly all of their ESOP savings with the collapse of Bear Stearns.

More recently, Gretchen has been instrumental in the firm’s litigation against pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”), drug manufacturers, and other entities whose business practices have driven up the cost of prescription drugs for ERISA welfare plan participants, as well as Medicare plan and ACA/individual plan members, and the uninsured. Gretchen was appointed by the Court as Plaintiffs’ Interim Lead Class Counsel in the In Re EpiPen ERISA Litigation, No. 17-cv-01884-PAM-HB (D. Minn.), a case alleging that the PBMs are fiduciaries under ERISA who breached their duties to the putative class of participants who paid inflated prices for EpiPens.

Gretchen’s breadth of practice extends to consumer protection and financial fraud claims, civil rights issues, and qui tam relator representation. She has played a key role in class action and multi-district cases arising out of the collapse of the mortgage securities industry and the residential mortgage modification and foreclosure crisis, including several ERISA actions and a consumer MDL against JPMorgan Chase.

Prior to joining Keller Rohrback, Gretchen served as a law clerk to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Washington. Before obtaining her law degree, she worked at a public defender’s office, the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition, and the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest—where she recently was profiled for Nebraska Appleseed’s 20th Anniversary celebration as an innovator in the organization’s earliest days.

Gretchen is a Plaintiff Co-Chair of the ABA Employee Benefits Committee’s Fiduciary Responsibility Subcommittee and a Chapter Editor for Employee Benefits Law (Jeffrey Lewis et al. eds., 3d ed. BNA 2012; Ivelisse Berio LeBeau, 4th ed. BNA 2017). She frequently speaks at conferences and CLEs, is quoted in pension-related publications, and has published a number of articles related to her practice areas.

Bar and Court Admissions

2005, Washington

2007, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

2008, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

2008, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

2010, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

2011, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington

2011, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

2011, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


University of Nebraska—Lincoln – B.S., with distinction, 1999, Women’s Studies, UNL Honors Program 

University of Nebraska—Lincoln, College of Law – J.D., with high distinction, 2005, Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief, Nebraska Law Review, 2004–2005

Professional and Civic Involvement

The William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court, Member 

American Constitution Society, Puget Sound Lawyer Chapter, Member 

King County Bar Association, Member 

Washington State Bar Association, Member 

American Bar Association, Member, Litigation / Labor and Employment Sections

Honors and Awards

Recipient of the 2004 Robert G. Simmons Law Practice Award (first place)

Theodore C. Sorensen Fellow, 2004–2005

Selected to Rising Stars list in Super Lawyers – Washington, 2010

Articles & Presentations

Speaker, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee – Mid-Winter Meeting, Clearwater Beach, FL, February 2018 (Prescription Drug Program Trends and Litigation).

Speaker, ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits – National Institute on ERISA Litigation, Chicago , IL, 2017 (Fiduciary Litigation Update).

Speaker, Western Pension & Benefits Council – Spring Seminar, Seattle, WA, 2017 (Litigation Issues in Health and Retirement Plans: a Plantiff’s Class Action Attorney’s Perspective).

Quoted in Jacklyn Wille, “Ninth Circuit Adopts Pro-Worker Pension Framework,Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA (Apr. 22, 2016) (

Speaker, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee – Mid-Winter Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, 2016 (Will Class Actions Live After This Supreme Court Term?).

Quoted in Andrea L. Ben-Yosef, “Class Action Suits on Plan Fees Steam Ahead,Pension & Benefits Blog, Bloomberg BNA (Feb. 10, 2016) (

Lynn L. Sarko, Erin M. Riley, and Gretchen S. Obrist, Brief for Law Professors as Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioners, Tibble, et al. v. Edison International, et al., No. 13-550 (U.S. 2014).

Erin M. Riley and Gretchen S. Obrist, Contributors, “Attorneys Reflect on 40 Years of ERISA’s Biggest Court Rulings” Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA, discussing CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 131 S.Ct. 1866, 50 EBC 2569 (U.S. 2011) (95 PBD, 5/17/11; 38 BPR 990, 5/24/11) (BNA Sept. 9, 2014) (

Erin M. Riley and Gretchen S. Obrist, “The Impact of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer: Finally, a Court Gets it Right!” Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA (154 PBD, 8/11/2014) (BNA Aug. 11, 2014) (

Speaker, ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits – 24th Annual National Institute on ERISA Litigation, Chicago, IL, 2014 (Fiduciary Litigation: Disclosure & Investment; Ethical Considerations in ERISA Litigation).

Speaker, Western Pension & Benefits Council – 2014 Spring Seminar, Seattle, WA, 2014 (What’s New in Fiduciary Litigation?).

Quoted in Jacklyn Wille, “High Court to Address Statute of Limitations for Suits Challenging Retirement Plan Fees,Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA (Oct. 3, 2014) (

Quoted in Jacklyn Wille, “High Court Seeks Government View in Tibble; Limitations Period, Deference Level at Issue,Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA (Mar. 25, 2014) (

Speaker, ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits – 23rd Annual National Institute on ERISA Litigation, Chicago, IL, 2013 (Fiduciary Litigation Part 1: Disclosure & Investment; Fiduciary Litigation Part 2: Cutting Edge Issues).

Speaker, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee – Mid-Winter Meeting, Charleston, SC, 2013 (ERISA 408(b)(2) and 404(a) Disclosures and the Ongoing Fee Litigation).

Contributing Editor and Writer, Foreclosure Manual for Judges: A Reference Guide to Foreclosure Law in Washington State, A Resource by Washington Appleseed (2013).

Gretchen S. Obrist, “‘Class of Plans’ Actions Could Be Next Wave of ERISA Litigation, Gretchen Obrist Says,” ERISA Litigation Tracker: Litigator Q&A, Bloomberg BNA (June 19, 2013) (

Gretchen S. Obrist, “ERISA Fee Litigation: Overview of Developments in 2012 and What to Expect in 2013,” Benefits Practitioners’ Strategy Guide, Bloomberg BNA (Mar. 26, 2013) (

Gretchen S. Obrist, “ERISA Fee Litigation: The Impact of New Disclosure Rules, and What’s Next in Pending Cases,” Pension & Benefits Daily, Bloomberg BNA (Feb. 21, 2013) (

Speaker, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee – Mid-Winter Meeting, Savannah, GA, 2011 (Update on ERISA Fee Litigation and the Impact of the Regulations).

Gretchen S. Obrist, Note, The Nebraska Supreme Court Lets Its Probation Department Off the Hook in Bartunek v. State: “No Duty” as a Non-Response to Violence Against Women and Identifiable Victims, 83 Neb. L. Rev. 225 (2004).

Representative Cases


  • Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 08-3109 (W.D. Mo.)
  • Beach v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, No. 17-563 (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Farrell v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., No. 16-2627 (S.D.N.Y.); In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates (FOREX) Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-7789 (S.D.N.Y.)
  • In re Bear Stearns Cos., Inc. ERISA Litigation, No. 08-02804 (S.D.N.Y.)
  • In re Washington Mutual, Inc. ERISA Litigation, No. 07-1874 (W.D. Wash.)


  • In re Express Scripts / Anthem ERISA Litigation, No. 16-3399 (S.D.N.Y.), appeal pending No. 18-346 (2d Cir.)
  • In re Cigna Corp. PBM Litigation, No. 16-1702 (D. Conn.)
  • Mohr-Lercara v. Oxford Health Insurance, Inc. et al., No. 18-1427 (S.D.N.Y.)


  • Monper v. Boeing, No. 13-1569 (W.D. Wash.)
  • Buus v. WaMu Pension Plan, No. 07-903 (W.D. Wash.)


  • In re JPMorgan Chase Mortgage Modification Litigation, MDL No. 2290 (D. Mass.)
  • Contreras v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, et al., No. 16-302 (E.D. Cal.)


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