Those involved in the management and administration of employee benefit plans sometimes find themselves in conflicted roles. Faced with a statute that imposes strict fiduciary duties, including what some courts have described as the "highest duty known to the law," hiring an independent fiduciary can be a wise investment.
EES principal Joseph A. Garofolo brings his experience as a fiduciary and his knowledge of the law from practicing as an ERISA attorney to the company's independent fiduciary services.
Mr. Garofolo's ERISA litigation experience as counsel, including in class actions, makes EES particularly suited to serve as an independent fiduciary for purposes of approving settlements in accordance with Department of Labor Prohibited Transaction Exemption 2003-39 ("PTE 2003-39"). If its conditions are satisfied, PTE 2003-39 provides an exemption for, inter alia, a release of a claim by a plan or plan fiduciary against a party in interest (e.g., a plan fiduciary, service provider, or employer) in exchange for consideration given by the party in interest to settle the plan or plan fiduciary's claim. One of the conditions of PTE 2003-39 is that the settlement "must be reasonable in light of the plan's likelihood of full recovery, the risks and costs of litigation, and the value of the claims foregone." Mr. Garofolo has been involved in numerous settlements of ERISA lawsuits as an attorney and, therefore, possesses the practical experience often needed to appropriately evaluate settlements.