Acosta v. Puccio
ORDER. For the reasons set forth in the attached, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 84 ) is GRANTED and judgment is entered in favor of Plaintiff. The Court also issues the following orders. Plaintiff is ordered to make payment of restitution in the amount of $484,321.48 to a trust to be established for Joseph A. Medina and Lynda Darnell Snagg ($288,385.36 and $196,036.12 respectively). Plaintiff is enjoined from serving as a trustee of any ERISA-covered employee benefit plan. The Clerk is directed to close this case. Signed by Judge Michael P. Shea on 2/15/2021. (Gait, Emily)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA, SECRETARY OF
No. 3:18-cv-00532 (MPS)
United states Department of Labor
KATHRYN T. PUCCIO,
RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff, the Secretary of Labor, brings this action against Kathryn T. Puccio alleging
violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Puccio and her late husband Thomas P. Puccio, as fiduciaries of the
Thomas P. Puccio Pension Plan (the “Plan”), drained the assets of the Plan for their personal use,
to the detriment of participants entitled to pension benefits. ECF No. 84-1 at 1-2.
Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment against Ms. Puccio on all issues of liability
and damages. Id. at 1. Plaintiff also requests that I enjoin Ms. Puccio from serving as a fiduciary
for any ERISA-covered employee benefit plan. Id. at 32. Ms. Puccio has not opposed the
motion.1 Nonetheless, the Court must undertake its own analysis to determine whether the
Secretary is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-800
Ms. Puccio’s counsel filed a response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment stating:
Counsel represents that he has repeatedly communicated with [Ms. Puccio] in their customary fashion by
calling her mobile phone and leaving messages both before and after the Court's grant of the extension of
time to today to respond to the Plaintiff's Motion or to file substantive motions. Counsel has been unable to
have any substantive consultation with his client since the Plaintiff's filing of the Motion for Summary
Judgment regarding whether there remain facts in dispute, to receive authority to take any position in
response to the instant motion, or to receive information and authority from the Defendant that would allow
filing of a dispositive motion in her behalf with supporting facts.
Accordingly, Defendant leaves the Plaintiff to his proof.
ECF No. 89 at 1.
Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 242 (2d Cir. 2004). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and renders judgment in favor of Plaintiff.
The following facts are taken from Plaintiff’s Local Rule 56(a) Statement and are
On January 1, 1993, Mr. Puccio, the principal of the Law Office of Thomas P. Puccio,
established the Plan. ECF No. 84-2 ¶¶ 1-2. The Plan is “a defined benefit plan” subject to
ERISA. Id. ¶¶ 3-4. The plan sponsor was the Law Office of Thomas P. Puccio, and the named
trustees were Mr. Puccio and Ms. Puccio. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Mr. Puccio also “served as the Plan
Administrator” and opened and maintained investment accounts for the Plan at Neuberger
Berman LLC, E*Trade Securities LLC [(“E*Trade”)], Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
[(“Morgan Stanley”)], The Vanguard Group, and UBS Financial Services, Inc.” Id. ¶¶ 17, 24, 25.
On August 25, 2003, the Plan was restated, at which time Mr. Puccio and Ms. Puccio signed the
restated Plan Adoption Agreement as trustees. Id. ¶ 7. Mr. Puccio and Ms. Puccio had the
authority, as trustees, to manage and control the assets of the Plan, including the authority to
make investments and the authority to withdraw funds from the Plan. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
Plan Form 5500s, prepared by the Plan’s former third-party administrator, T.J.
Kowalchuk Associates, Inc., were filed with the United States Department of Labor for the years
2006-2009 “on the basis of information and data provided by … [Mr.] Puccio.” Id. ¶¶ 14-15.
Ms. Puccio did not file a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and did not file a
Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement disputing the material facts set forth in Plaintiff’s Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s Statements that are supported by the evidence in the record are deemed admitted for the
purposes of this ruling. Local Rule 56(a)1 (“Each material fact set forth in the local Rule 56(a)1 Statement and
supported by the evidence will be deemed admitted (solely for purposes of the motion) unless such fact is
controverted by the Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement required to be filed and served by the opposing party….”).
The Form 5500 filed for the year 2009, “the last year a form 5500 was filed, shows the Plan
assets were valued at $2,146,836.70.” Id. ¶ 28.
The Plan defines participants as “employees” of the plan sponsor and, after one year of
service, the participants become vested. The vested plan participants listed on the Form 5500s
for the years 2006-2009 were Mr. Puccio, Ms. Puccio, Joseph A. Medina, and Lynda Darnell
Snagg. Id. ¶ 17. Snagg was employed by Mr. Puccio and Ms. Puccio “to assist them with
household and [Mr.] Puccio’s work-related matters” from “1991 to December 31, 1998.” Id. ¶
21. Medina was employed by the Plan sponsor as an executive assistant from June 2001 to
March 12, 2012. Id. ¶ 19. After Mr. Puccio’s death, Medina “assist[ed] with winding down
[Mr.] Puccio’s law practice and with the Estate of [Mr.] Puccio.” Id. ¶ 20. Both Medina and
Snagg were told by Mr. Puccio when they were hired “that they were entitled to a pension
benefit.” Id. ¶ 18. “As of May 30, 2019, Medina’s pension benefit entitlement was
[$288,385.36]3 and Snagg’s pension benefit entitlement was $196,036.12.” Id. ¶ 44. “To date,
neither Medina nor Snagg have received any portion of the Plan pension benefit due and owing
to them.” Id. ¶ 63.
Between 2010 and 2012, Mr. Puccio withdrew funds from the Plan. “On July 28, 2010,
[Mr.] Puccio authorized and executed a wire transfer drawn on the Plan’s Morgan Stanley
account totaling $75,000.00.” Id. ¶ 35. Between November 2010 and April 2011, Mr. Puccio
“authorized and executed withdrawals, wire transfers and/or checks drawn on the Plan’s E*Trade
account totaling $645,000.00.” Id. ¶ 31. On April 1, 2011, Mr. Puccio “authorized and executed
Edward J. Vigneau, President and Actuary of TLC Pension Consulting Inc., prepared an affidavit in which he
states that Medina “was entitled to a lump sum benefit of $288,385.36.” ECF No. 84-7 ¶ 16. Plaintiff also attached a
“benefit election form” prepared by Vigneau listing the lump sum amount as $288,385.36. Id. at 6. Plaintiff states in
its Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment that Medina is
entitled to $288,285.35—one hundred dollars less than the amount Vigneau provides. ECF No. 84-1 ¶ 44, ECF No.
84-1 at 32. I find that the amount provided by Vigneau is supported by the record and utilize that value hereinafter.
the redemption of all funds from the Plan’s [Vanguard Group] account in the form of a check
totaling $48,874.65.” Id. ¶ 33. Between April, 2011 and February, 2012, Mr. Puccio “authorized
and executed withdrawals, wire transfers and/or checks drawn on the Plan’s Neuberger Berman
LLC account totaling $1,000,000.00.” Id. ¶ 29. The withdrawn funds from all four accounts
“were deposited to [Mr.] Puccio’s ‘Special Account’ … at HSBC Bank.” Id. ¶¶ 30, 32, 34, 36.
Funds were transferred from the “Special Account” at HSBC Bank “to a joint account held by
[Mr.] Puccio and [Ms.] Puccio jointly at Citibank”, between January 2011 and January 2012,
totaling $360,500.00. Id. ¶ 37.
On March 12, 2012, Mr. Puccio died. Id. ¶ 1. Ms. Puccio “never resigned her position as
Trustee to the Plan” and “no successor Trustee was appointed to replace him”, leaving Ms.
Puccio the sole trustee. Id. ¶¶ 8-10. After Mr. Puccio’s death, Ms. Puccio withdrew funds from
the Plan. “From March 23, 2012 through July 26, 2013, [Ms.] Puccio authorized and executed
wire transfers of funds totaling $109,586.19 from the Plan’s Neuberger account to an account at
First County Bank in the name of Kathryn Puccio.” Id. ¶ 38. “On March 26, 2012, [Ms.] Puccio
authorized the issuance of checks totaling $55,812.77, drawn on the Plan’s Neuberger account to
personal credits, such as stores, credit card services, wages for housekeepers and a chauffeur.”
Id. ¶ 39. Altogether, Mr. Puccio and Ms. Puccio withdrew $1,934,273.61 from the Plan’s
investment accounts. Id. ¶ 40. The only Plan investment accounts that have any money
remaining are E*Trade with a balance of $757.94 and Morgan Stanley with a balance of
$4,426.45. Id. ¶ 41. The money that was withdrawn from the Plan’s investment accounts was
“used to pay for expenses unrelated to the Plan and its administration.” Id. ¶ 42. None of the
withdrawn funds was allocated to Plan participants Joseph Medina or Lynda Snagg as payment
for pension benefits. Id. ¶ 43.
When Mr. Puccio died, Ms. Puccio “was appointed Executrix of his estate….” and
“retained the legal services of Ward Cleary, Esq. of Curtis, Brinkerhoff and Barrett PC to
represent” the estate and herself as Executrix. Id. ¶¶ 47-48. Ms. Puccio “had knowledge of the
pension benefit obligation owed to Medina and Snagg prior to her final withdrawal of Plan assets
from the Neuberger Berman LLC account.” Id. ¶ 61. Ms. Puccio’s “legal representatives,
Attorneys Ernest Honecker and Ward Cleary, had knowledge that her husband, Mr. Puccio, had
made many large withdrawals from the Plan’s investment accounts during the two years prior to
his death as his business declined.” Id. ¶ 49. They “informed” Ms. Puccio about “the Plan’s
finances and the existence of funds in investment accounts….” Id. ¶ 50. Ms. Puccio and “her
legal representatives obtained information about the Plan and the pension benefit obligations to
Plan participants Medina and Snagg.” Id. ¶ 51.
Summary judgment is appropriate only when “the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue exists
as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323–25 (1986). If the moving
party carries its burden, “the opposing party must come forward with specific evidence
demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.” Brown v. Eli Lilly & Co., 654
F.3d 347, 358 (2d Cir.2011) (citation omitted). An issue of fact is “material” if it “might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Konikoff v. Prudential Ins. Co. of America,
234 F.3d 92, 97 (2d Cir.2000) (citation omitted). “A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine
if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Williams v. Utica Coll. of Syracuse Univ., 453 F.3d 112, 116 (2d Cir.2006) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). On summary judgment, a court must “construe the facts
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all
reasonable inferences against the movant.” Caronia v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 715 F.3d 417,
427 (2d Cir. 2013) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
Although “[t]he non-moving party need not respond to the motion [for summary
judgment] ... a non-response runs the risk of unresponded-to statements of undisputed facts
proffered by the movant being deemed admitted.” Jackson v. Fed. Exp., 766 F.3d 189, 194 (2d
Cir.2014) (citations omitted). “Even when a motion for summary judgment is unopposed, the
district court is not relieved of its duty to decide whether the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Vermont Teddy Bear Co., 373 F.3d at 242. “Before summary judgment may be
entered, the district court must ensure that each statement of material fact is supported by record
evidence sufficient to satisfy the movant's burden of production even if the statement is
unopposed.” Jackson, 766 F.3d at 194 (citation omitted).
Plaintiff requests that this Court: 1) find Ms. Puccio liable for violations of ERISA; 2)
order Ms. Puccio to make restitution to the Plan to satisfy the pension benefit entitlements of
Plan participants Medina and Snagg in the amounts of $288,385.36 and $196,036.12,
respectively; and 3) enjoin Ms. Puccio from serving as a fiduciary for any ERISA benefit plan.
ECF No. 84-1 at 32.
A. Ms. Puccio’s Status as Fiduciary to the Plan
Plaintiff alleges that there is no genuine dispute of material fact that Ms. Puccio was and
is a fiduciary of the Plan because she was granted discretionary authority to manage and control
the assets of the Plan as a trustee, and because she exercised discretionary authority over the
assets of the Plan. ECF No. 84-1 at 16, 17. “ERISA imposes a fiduciary duty on plan
administrators to administer a benefits plan ‘with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence under
the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with
such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with like aims.’”
Ladouceur v. Credit Lyonnais, 584 F.3d 510, 512 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting 29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)).
“[A] person is a fiduciary with respect to a plan, and therefore subject to ERISA fiduciary
duties, to the extent that he or she exercises any discretionary authority or discretionary control
respecting management of the plan, or has any discretionary authority or discretionary
responsibility in the administration of the plan.” Varity Corp. v. Howe, 516 U.S. 489, 498 (1996)
(internal quotation marks omitted); see also L.I. Head Start Child Dev. Servs., Inc. v. Econ.
Opportunity Comm'n of Nassau City., Inc., 710 F.3d 57, 68 (2d Cir. 2013) (“ERISA § 3(21)(A)
imposes fiduciary status on (1) those who exercise discretionary authority with regard to the
management or administration of the plan, regardless of whether such authority was ever granted
and (2) those who have actually been granted discretionary authority, regardless of whether such
authority is ever exercised.”) (citations, internal quotation marks, and alterations omitted).
Plaintiff has presented evidence that Ms. Puccio was and is a fiduciary because she was
granted discretionary authority as a named trustee under the Plan. Under ERISA, a trustee “ha[s]
exclusive authority and direction to manage and control the assets of the plan except to the extent
that….” the plan expressly limits that control. 29 U.S.C. § 1103(a). Ms. Puccio signed the Plan
Adoption Agreement on August 25, 2003 as a trustee, and as a trustee, she had the authority to
manage and control the assets of the plan, including investment authority and the authority to
withdraw funds. ECF No. 84-2 ¶¶ 7, 11-12. After Mr. Puccio’s death, Ms. Puccio never resigned
her position as trustee and no successor trustee was appointed to replace Mr. Puccio, leaving Ms.
Puccio as the sole trustee to the Plan. Id. ¶¶ 8-10. The Plan does not expressly limit her authority
as trustee, ECF No. 84-10 at 108-09; therefore, there is no dispute that Ms. Puccio was and is a
fiduciary of the Plan as the sole trustee.
Plaintiff has also presented evidence that Ms. Puccio was and is a fiduciary of the Plan
because she exercised discretionary authority over the management of the Plan by withdrawing
assets. Specifically, Ms. Puccio withdrew $109,586.19 from the Plan and transferred those funds
to a different bank account in her own name. Id. ¶ 38. She also authorized checks to be issued
from the Plan’s account to stores, credit card services, and other personal expenses totaling
$55,812.77. Id. ¶ 39. Altogether, Ms. Puccio withdrew $165,398.96 from the Plan. No
reasonable juror could find that Ms. Puccio did not exercise discretionary authority over the Plan
in light of these withdrawals. Accordingly, she owed a fiduciary duty to administer the Plan with
care, skill, prudence, and diligence.
B. Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Plaintiff asserts that Ms. Puccio breached, among others, her fiduciary duties under §
404(a)(1)(A), (B) and (D) of ERISA, which provide:
[A] fiduciary shall discharge his duties with respect to a plan solely in the interest of the
participants and beneficiaries and—(A) for the exclusive purpose of: (i) providing
benefits to participants and their beneficiaries; and (ii) defraying reasonable expenses of
administering the plan; (B) with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence under the
circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar
with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with
like aims; ... and (D) in accordance with the documents and instruments governing the
plan insofar as such documents and instruments are consistent with the provisions of this
subchapter and subchapter III.
29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1).
According to Plaintiff, Ms. Puccio did not discharge her duties in the interest of the
participants because she diverted funds from the Plan for her own personal use, leaving only a
negligible balance in the Plan incapable of paying Medina’s or Snagg’s pension benefit. ECF No.
84-1 at 22, 24. I agree with Plaintiff that no reasonable jury could find otherwise.
Ms. Puccio had a fiduciary duty to “act to ensure” that the Plan “receives all funds to
which it is entitled, so that those funds can be used on behalf of participants and beneficiaries.”
See Diduck v. Kaszycki & Sons Contractors, Inc., 874 F.2d 912, 916 (2d Cir. 1989) (citation
omitted). Plaintiff presented evidence that Ms. Puccio did not ensure that the Plan had the funds
to be used on behalf of participants Medina and Snagg. Instead, she depleted the funds from the
Plan’s account to the point that the Plan lacked financial integrity and the obligations to
participants Medina and Snagg could not be satisfied. ECF No. 84-2 ¶¶ 38-39; see also L.I. Head
Start Child Dev. Serv., Inc., 710 F.3d at 70 (agreeing with the district court that the ERISA plan
administrators breached their fiduciary duties by dissipating the plan reserves). Ms. Puccio has
not offered any evidence to dispute Plaintiff’s evidence that the Plan’s account balance was
depleted, in part by Ms. Puccio herself, from $2,146,836.70 to $5,184.39—an amount
insufficient to satisfy Medina’s entitlement of $288,385.36 and Snagg’s entitlement of
$196,036.12, neither having received any portion of their entitlements. ECF No. 84-2 ¶¶ 28, 3839, 41, 44, 63.
Plaintiff has also submitted evidence that Ms. Puccio breached her fiduciary duty under
ERISA § 406(b)(1) by dealing with the assets of the plan in her own interest. 29 U.S.C. §
1106(b)(1) (“A fiduciary with respect to a plan shall not—deal with the assets of the plan in his
own interest or for his own account….”). Specifically, Ms. Puccio issued checks from the Plan’s
investment account for her own interest, including checks to stores, credit card services,
housekeepers, and a chauffeur. ECF No. 84-2 ¶ 39. There is no genuine dispute of material fact
that Ms. Puccio breached her fiduciary duty to the Plan by depleting the Plan’s assets and using
the Plan’s funds for her own interest.4
C. Breach of Duty to Prevent Breaches by Co-Fiduciary
If an ERISA plan has two or more trustees, “each shall use reasonable care to prevent a
co-trustee from committing a breach; and  they shall jointly manage and control the assets of
the plan….” ERISA § 405(b)(1); 29 U.S.C. § 1105(b)(1). Under ERISA § 405(a), a co-fiduciary
is liable for a breach of fiduciary duty by another fiduciary of the same plan:
(1) if he participates knowingly in, or knowingly undertakes to conceal, an act or
omission of such other fiduciary, knowing such act or omission is a breach;
(2) if, by his failure to comply with section 1104(a)(1) of this title in the
administration of his specific responsibilities which give rise to his status as a
fiduciary, he has enabled such other fiduciary to commit a breach; or
(3) if he has knowledge of a breach by such other fiduciary, unless he makes
reasonable efforts under the circumstances to remedy the breach.
29 U.S.C. § 1105(a). As noted above, “section 1104(a)(1) of this title” includes a duty on the
party of each fiduciary to administer the plan “with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence” that
a prudent person would use under similar circumstances. 29 U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)(B). Thus,
under ERISA Section 405(a)(2), a fiduciary who fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent her
co-fiduciary from breaching his fiduciary duty is herself liable for the breach.
Plaintiff asserts that Ms. Puccio is liable because she failed to manage and control the
assets of the plan as a trustee, failed to use reasonable care to prevent Mr. Puccio from
committing a breach, and consequentially, enabled Mr. Puccio to withdraw substantial assets
from the Plan to pay personal expenses. ECF No. 84-1 at 25-26.
Although Ms. Puccio was also a beneficiary under the Plan, and thus was entitled to a portion of its assets, she
could not use Plan assets to finance her lifestyle to the point that the other participants were disadvantaged. 29
U.S.C. § 1104(a)(1)(A) (requiring fiduciary to discharge plan duties solely in interest of participants and
beneficiaries and for exclusive purpose of providing benefits to such persons).
The undisputed evidence demonstrates that had Ms. Puccio undertaken any of her
responsibilities as a trustee to manage the assets of the Plan, she would have discovered that the
assets were being withdrawn by the other trustee, her husband. Her abdication of her duties to
ensure that the Plan received all the funds to which it was entitled, to jointly manage the assets of
the plan, and to use reasonable care to prevent the self-dealing by Mr. Puccio enabled Mr. Puccio
to breach his duty as a co-fiduciary and withdraw almost two million dollars from the Plan’s
accounts for his (and her) personal benefit. See Free v. Briody, 732 F.2d 1331, 1335-36 (7th Cir.
1984) (“By failing to take any action with respect to the plan, Briody enabled [his co-trustee] to
breach his fiduciary duties. Had Briody taken control of the assets … [p]rompt action could well
have prevented [the co-trustee] from giving $40,000” to a purported financial advisor who never
returned the money and ultimately pled guilty to charges resulting from fraudulent transactions.).
Ms. Puccio accepted a position as trustee and cannot avoid liability for Mr. Puccio’s
“mismanagement of the Plan by simply doing nothing.” Id. at 1336; see also Chao v. Docster,
No. 01-cv-827 (NAM/DEP), 2006 WL 1593521, at *8 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2006) (explaining
that co-trustee’s breach “would have been obvious to a genuine trustee” but for an “abdication of
the duty he owed to the plan’s beneficiaries.… [E]ven accepting [the trustee’s] claim of complete
non-involvement in the administration of the retirement plan, he breached his fiduciary
obligations with respect to the plan as a matter of law.”).
Ms. Puccio’s inaction was particularly egregious in this case because the undisputed
evidence demonstrates that the money Mr. Puccio withdrew did not simply vanish somewhere
beyond the reach of Ms. Puccio. Instead, Ms. Puccio had access to at least some of the money
that Mr. Puccio withdrew from the Plan. Mr. Puccio withdrew assets from the Plan and
deposited them into his “special account.” ECF No. 84-2 ¶¶ 30, 32, 34, 36. He then withdrew
$360,500.00 from his “special account” and transferred it to a joint account held by Mr. and Ms.
Puccio. ECF No. 84-2 ¶ 37. That evidence strengthens the inference that she failed to “use
reasonable care to prevent a co-trustee from committing a breach,” 29 U.S.C. § 1105(b)(1)(A),
and that her failure to act prudently – indeed, her failure to take any responsibility to manage and
control the assets of the Plan – enabled Mr. Puccio’s breach. Her abdication of all responsibility
as a fiduciary enabled Mr. Puccio to make large withdrawals of Plan assets for personal
Because Ms. Puccio breached her fiduciary duties under ERISA §§ 404, 405, and 406,
she is liable under ERISA § 409, which provides:
Any person who is a fiduciary with respect to a plan who breaches any of the
responsibilities, obligations, or duties imposed upon fiduciaries by this subchapter shall
be personally liable to make good to such plan any losses to the plan resulting from each
such breach, and to restore to such plan any profits of such fiduciary which have been
made through use of assets of the plan by the fiduciary, and shall be subject to such other
equitable or remedial relief as the court may deem appropriate, including removal of such
29 U.S.C. § 1109(a). Under this provision, courts have “wide discretion in fashioning equitable
relief to protect the rights of pension fund beneficiaries.” Chao v. Merino, 452 F.3d 174, 185 (2d
Cir. 2006). The provision also makes clear that a breach makes the fiduciary liable for “losses to
the plan,” not “directly losses to beneficiaries,” although “the ultimate goal of ERISA § 409(a) is
the restoration of the trust beneficiaries to the position they would have occupied but for the
breach of trust.” Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff requests that I: (1) order Ms. Puccio to “satisfy in full the pension benefit
entitlements of Plan participants Joseph A. Medina and Lynda Darnell Snagg, in the amounts of
[$288,385.36] and $196,036.12 respectively”; and (2) “issue an order enjoining [Ms. Puccio]
from serving as a fiduciary to any ERISA-covered employee benefit plan….” ECF No. 84-1 at
32. The request for monetary relief is reasonable because Medina and Snagg would be restored
to the position they would have occupied but for Ms. Puccio’s breaches of trust as a fiduciary
and as a co-fiduciary. I therefore order Ms. Puccio to pay the sum of $484,321.48 to a trust fund
for the benefit of Medina and Snagg ($288,385.36 for Medina’s entitlement and $196,036.12 for
I also enjoin Ms. Puccio from serving as a fiduciary for any ERISA-covered employee
benefit plan. It would be unwise to permit Ms. Puccio to serve as a fiduciary, in light of the
many breaches of her responsibilities. The evidence shows that she enabled her husband to
breach the trust imposed by ERISA and breached that trust herself by withdrawing assets from
the Plan until the remaining balance was negligible and wholly insufficient to satisfy its
obligations to the beneficiaries. The evidence in the record makes clear that she never took
seriously her role as fiduciary, and in light of these violations, that she should never again be
entrusted with the responsibilities of an ERISA fiduciary. See Chao, 452 F.3d at 186 (concluding
that the district court did not abuse its discretion by entering a permanent injunction to protect
“other funds against the possibility of … derelictions….”); see also Metzler v. Solidarity of
Labor Org. Health & Welfare Fund, No. 95-cv-7242 (KMW), 1998 WL 477964, at *10
(S.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 1998), aff’d sub nom. Herman v. Goldstein, 224 F.3d 128 (2d Cir. 2000)
(finding the plaintiff’s request to enjoin the defendants from ever serving as fiduciaries
For the reasons set forth above, I hereby GRANT Plaintiff’s motion for summary
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Michael P. Shea, U.S.D.J.
February 15, 2021
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