Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog

The View from Proskauer on Developments in the World of Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & ERISA Litigation

Tulio Chirinos

Tulio Chirinos

Associate

Tulio D. Chirinos is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department, and a member of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group.

Tulio works on a wide variety of employment law and benefit matters, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, ERISA breach of fiduciary duty claims, and ERISA benefits claims. He was also a contributing author to Chapter 21 and Chapter 34 of the fifth edition of BNA’s ERISA Litigation treatise, published in 2014. Prior to joining Proskauer, Tulio clerked for the Federal Public Defender’s office for the Middle District of Florida. Before attending law school, Tulio was an officer in the Army National Guard, where he served two tours of duty in Iraq. He is currently a Major in the Mississippi National Guard.

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ERISA’s Six-Year Statute of Repose for Fiduciary-Breach Claims Can Be Tolled

The Eleventh Circuit ruled that ERISA’s six-year statute of repose can be tolled by the parties even though it is a statute of repose. During pre-litigation negotiations between the U.S. Department of Labor and a trustee of an employee stock ownership plan, the parties signed a series of tolling agreements, which delayed the filing of any … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Enforces Reimbursement Provision in One-Page Welfare Plan

The Fifth Circuit upheld the reimbursement and subrogation terms found in a welfare benefit plan’s one-page SPD that also served as the plan document. Plaintiff, a plan beneficiary, received $71,644.77 from the plan to cover medical expenses incurred as a result of injuries sustained during a laparoscopic exam. Plaintiff’s injuries were allegedly the result of medical … Continue Reading

Claims Against Investment Adviser in ERISA Fee Litigation Case Dismissed

A federal district court in North Carolina dismissed claims by BB&T Corp.’s 401(k) plan participants that Cardinal Investment Advisors, LLC, the plan’s outside investment advisor, breached its ERISA fiduciary duties by allowing the plan to invest in BB&T proprietary funds. The proprietary funds, according to plaintiffs, charged excessive fees and underperformed non-proprietary funds. The court dismissed the … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Concludes That State Law Claims For Life Insurance Benefits Are Preempted

The Fourth Circuit recently concluded that a Sears employee’s state law claims seeking money damages based on denial of insurance benefits (for failure to submit evidence of insurability questionnaire) was preempted by ERISA.  The Court explained that resolution of the state law claims required examining the plan to determine Sears’ obligations as plan administrator and making … Continue Reading

Fidelity Prevails In ERISA Float Litigation

The First Circuit joined the Eighth Circuit in finding that Fidelity’s practice of earning overnight “float” interest on the cash paid out to 401(k) participants redeeming shares in mutual funds did not violate ERISA’s duty of loyalty or prohibition on self-dealing.  In so holding, the Court observed that under the terms of the trust agreements … Continue Reading

District Court Allows ERISA Section 510 Retaliation Claim to Proceed

A federal district court in Pennsylvania concluded that Irene Najmola, a former employee of Chester County Hospital, sufficiently pled a retaliation claim under ERISA section 510 by alleging that her employment was terminated shortly after returning from short-term disability leave.  In so ruling, the court determined that Najmola sufficiently pled that defendant had the specific … Continue Reading

Plan Sponsors’ Decision to Change Form of Employer Contributions Not A Fiduciary Function

The Second Circuit recently held that Morgan Stanley and others were not de facto ERISA fiduciaries by virtue of having authority and means to fund company contributions with stock rather than cash. In so ruling, the Court explained that at the time of the decision to fund contributions with company stock, the stock was not … Continue Reading

Ohio Court of Appeals Upholds Constructive Trust in Favor of Unnamed Beneficiaries

The Ohio Court of Appeals imposed a constructive trust over the proceeds of an ERISA governed life insurance policy for the benefit of the decedent’s children even though the children were not named beneficiaries of the policy. Crites v. Anthem Life Ins. Co., 2014-Ohio-1682 (Ohio Ct. App. 2014). Keith Crites, the decedent, had a life … Continue Reading

Don’t Waive Privilege: Exclude Unnecessary Service Providers From Meetings

A recent opinion from a federal district court in Massachusetts provides plan sponsors and fiduciaries with a reminder that plan service providers should be excused from meetings where their attendance is not needed to assist in the provision of legal advice. If they are not, whatever attorney-client privilege that may have protected the confidentiality of … Continue Reading

District Court Relies on Recent Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Plan Limitations Provision

A federal district court in New Jersey granted summary judgment in favor of New Jersey Bac Health Fund, finding the limitations provision set forth in the Fund’s SPD to be reasonable. Barriero v. NJ Bac Health Fund, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181277 (D.N.J. Dec. 27, 2013). Under the welfare plan limitations provision, participants seeking to … Continue Reading

Federal District Court (In Its Capacity As An Employer) Must Reimburse Employee for the Cost of Health Benefits for her Same-Sex Domestic Partner

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, an administrative body that reviews decisions of the court’s chief judge, recently weighed in on an issue involving same-sex domestic partner health benefits in the post-Windsor world.  The decision is interesting insofar as it relies at least partially on the Windsor decision in awarding “spousal” benefits to an unmarried same-sex … Continue Reading

“Plan Administrator” vs “Claims Administrator” – Who is the Proper Defendant in ERISA Claim for Benefits?

The issue of who may be a proper defendant in an ERISA claim for benefits has not received consistent treatment in the courts. On the one hand, a federal district court in Minnesota recently concluded that a third party administrator was a proper defendant in a lawsuit seeking benefits on the grounds that Section 502(a)(1)(B), … Continue Reading
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