I have been practicing almost exclusively in the area of benefits for more than 20 years. My firm's practice is problem driven rather form driven. We work on benefit problems in all areas, including benefit plan design, mergers and acquisitions, the compliance programs of the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service, benefit litigation, and withdrawal liability.
Before graduating from Yale Law School, I was commissioned as an infantry lieutenant in the U.S. Army, served as a platoon leader in Vietnam, was a grantee at the East-West Center and earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii. I have been married to Kristina for 29 years and our daughter, Maia, is 12.
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Cecilio v. Sea Nine Associates, Inc. (1st Circuit, Hawaii 2010) — Won a favorable settlement for plaintiffs against persons involved in the promotion of a "10 or more employer plan" illegal tax shelter.
Goodin v. Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc., 489 F.Supp.2d 1157 (D.Haw. 2007) — Won summary judgment for plaintiffs in an ERISA suit of first impression. The trial court agreed with us that amending a KSOP to deprive plan participants of a put option for company stock purchased with elective deferrals violates ERISA's anti-cutback rule.
Acquistions: Hawaiian Telcom Communications, Inc. ; Princeville Hotel and Resort; Kahala Hotel; Pacific Machinery, Inc. — Have represented buyers and sellers as benefits counsel in large acquisitions and sales.
Jackson v. Abercrombie, Memorandum, Nos. 12-16995, 12-16998, 9th Circuit (10/10/2014)
This case challenged Hawaii's ban on same sex marriage, arguing that it violated the right of Gay couples to Equal Protection. The trial court upheld the ban, ruling that the State did not have to justify excluding Gay people from the right to marry and could be indifferent to any harms caused by such exclusion. While the case was on appeal, Hawaii law was changed to provide for marriage equality, thereby mooting the case. The 9th Circuit then vacated the trial court's ruling, stating that it was "particularly appropriate" to do so in view of its ruling in closely similar Idaho and Nevada cases that denying Gay people the right to marry violates their right to Equal Protection.