Jean E. Tomasco



  • Overview


    Jean Tomasco's practice involves employer counseling and employment litigation, with an emphasis on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and benefits litigation. She is a member of the firm’s Managed Care + Employee Benefit Litigation and its Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Groups.

    Employee Benefits and Compensation Litigation

    Jean has more than two decades of experience handling benefit claims litigation. She represents insurers, managed care organizations, and employers in benefit claims litigation, including retaliatory discharge claims and claims brought against plan fiduciaries. She represents plan administrators and insurers in enforcing plan and policy terms and recovering overpayments. Jean’s extensive experience in this area has led to positive results for her clients, such as her successful defense of a financial institution against a claim by its pension plan participants for additional retirement benefits.

    Employment Counseling

    Jean counsels employers on a variety of employment matters, including hiring practices, termination of employees, employment-related immigration issues, unemployment compensation issues, wage and hour matters, drug testing, and personnel policies and handbooks. Her clients include employers of all sizes in a range of industries, including in manufacturing, financial services, and health care.

    She has advised a number of clients on ERISA preemption of state laws, and she counsels clients regarding COBRA and other employee benefits issues. Jean also has advised insurers and managed care organizations regarding the drafting and interpretation of various plan provisions. She has extensive experience in managed care contracting, including the drafting of self-funded plan administration agreements and delegated vendor arrangements.

    Employment Litigation

    Jean represents employers before state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). She has defended employers against all types of employment-related claims, including discrimination and wrongful discharge claims. Jean has achieved results for clients. Her defense of an employer against a former employee’s race discrimination claim led to it being withdrawn. She has successfully defended several race, age, and national origin discrimination cases against a nonprofit organization, ultimately getting the cases withdrawn or dismissed.

    Pro Bono

    Jean’s pro bono work includes helping non-profit arts and community service organizations develop their policies and handbooks. She also serves community meals as a volunteer for Hands on Hartford.

    Jean is a regular speaker on ERISA litigation and employment matters, and writes for the firm’s ERISA Claim Defense Blog. She also contributes to the firm’s Data Privacy + Security Insider publication. 

  • Experience
    • Experience


        Employee Benefits Litigation

      • Represented leading disability insurer in what is believed to be the first reported federal court decision in the U.S. granting summary judgment based on an insured's failure to obtain surgery, which was viewed as a violation of the appropriate care requirement. The court held that insured's refusal to obtain release surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome was a violation of the unambiguous policy provision to seek and accept appropriate medical care for his disabling condition.
      • Successfully defended a municipality, city council members, and retirement board members against a breach of fiduciary duty claim by certain employees, their union, and retirees contesting the legality of an ordinance amending a benefit fund to create an account to pay the cost of retiree health benefits. Prevailed on a motion to dismiss on grounds that plaintiffs lacked standing due to lack of actual or imminent harm.

      • Successfully defended a financial institution and its pension plan against a claim by plan participants for additional retirement benefits. The case involved an issue of first impression concerning the effect of a retroactive amendment to the plan and whether the plan was in operational compliance with the applicable laws. We prevailed on summary judgment at the District Court level and the decision was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
      • Represented an employer in a case involving a claim for long-term disability benefits by a former employee. The employee withdrew the claim after we moved to dismiss on the ground that the employer was not a plan fiduciary.
      • Successfully defended a health insurer against a claim for psychiatric benefits. The case concerned the application of a preexisting condition exclusion and a contractual limitation period, as well as ERISA preemption of state law claims. We prevailed on summary judgment.
      • Defended a plan sponsor and retirement plan against a claim for additional pension benefits by a plan beneficiary. We prevailed on summary judgment.
      • Employment Litigation

      • Defended employer against a claim of race discrimination by a former employee pending before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The employee withdrew the claim after a fact-finding hearing.
      • Successfully defended a large insurance employer in a case involving claims of race discrimination and retaliation at a public hearing before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The hearing officer found in favor of the employer on a motion for judgment. Motion filed after numerous witnesses (including some defense witnesses) had testified and complainant had rested her case.
      • Defended employer and its board members in case involving claims of race discrimination, retaliation, and defamation (U.S. District Court, CT). Case settled after initial day of testimony.
      • Defended manufacturing company in case involving claims of race and national origin discrimination. (U.S. District Court, CT). After employer prevailed on summary judgment, the plaintiff appealed. Judgment was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. District Court subsequently granted employer’s motion for costs. Plaintiff appealed the order on costs; employer prevailed on appeal.
      • Successfully defended several race, age and national origin discrimination cases against a nonprofit organization; cases were withdrawn or dismissed by CHRO prior to public hearing.
      • Employment Counseling

      • Resolved compensation dispute with former employee of insurance company, avoiding protracted litigation.

      • Developed integrated leave policies and combined federal and state FMLA forms for numerous employers.

      • Other Experience

      • Representation of a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in a qui tam case brought by a former billing manager alleging the FQHC violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false claims for reimbursement and by making false statements in federal grant applications. Obtained dismissal of all fraud claims before discovery; related retaliation claim was then settled.
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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Labor and Employment Law Section (1991 - present)

      Defense Research Institute
      Life, Health, and Disability Committee (1991 - present)

      American Bar Association
      Section of Labor and Employment Law

      American Health Lawyers Association

      Society for Human Resource Management

      Human Resource Association of Central Connecticut
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Recognized by the National Law Review as a 2021 Go-To Thought Leader

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      University of Connecticut School of Law
      Board of Directors, Alumni Association (2013 - 2017)
    • Publications


      "When COBRA Meets COVID-19: Concerns for Plan Administrators and TPAs," published in the ERISA Report, a semi-annual newsletter issued by the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Life, Health and Disability/ERISA Committee (12/10/2020)
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      "ERISA Health Plans: Changes and Challenges in the Fiduciary Arena," published in Payors Plans & Managed Care, co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity (11/2011)

      ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits, Tort & Insurance Practice Section, Health and Disability Insurance Law Committee, contributing author (2005 edition)

      "Beware of COBRA's Bite: COBRA's New Notice Requirements," published in CBA Labor and Employment Law Quarterly (Fall 2004)

    • Presentations


      "Tips to Mitigate Cyber Risks: Protecting Plan Assets and Personal Information," at the Managed Care + Employee Benefits Summit (10/5/2021)
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      "COVID-19 and Implications for Group Health and Disability Plans," co-presented with Milanna Datlow (3/3/2021)
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      "Implications of COVID-19 for Group Health and Disability Plans, Including COBRA," co-presented with Milanna Datlow, at the Managed Care + Employee Benefits Summit. (10/1/2020)
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      "Fiduciary Status of Plan Service Providers: Overview and Trends," co-presented with Latanae L. Parker, at Robinson+Cole's Managed Care and Employee Benefit (MCEB) Summit (9/25/2019)

      "Managed Care Litigation Update 2017," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci, a webinar for a firm client in the specialty risk insurance industry. (4/19/2017)
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      "Escobar: Mitigating Risk of Implied Certification Liability Under the False Claims Act," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci, webinar, for a client in the specialty risk insurance industry (10/19/2016)
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      "Managed Care Litigation Update 2016," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci, a webinar for a firm client in the specialty risk insurance industry (3/30/2016)
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      "Managed Care Litigation Update 2015," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci, a webinar for a firm client in the specialty risk insurance industry (4/8/2015)
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      "Healthcare and Health Insurance Developments in 2013: The Year in Review and Forecasting Challenges and Opportunities Ahead," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci (1/29/2014)
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      "Big Data, Big Problems: Data Privacy and Security in the Workplace," co-presented with Andrea Donovan Napp (1/23/2014)
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      "Data Breach: Litigation and Regulatory Risk," co-presented with Andrea Donovan Napp and Theodore J. Tucci (10/13/13)
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      "Alzheimer's in the Workplace: What Employees Need to Know," a webinar presented to the Connecticut State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2/27/2013)

      "Business Minutes: Employment Law Issues," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association (Radio Broadcast) (February 2013)

      "Employment Law Update: Court Cases and Agency Activity," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association's Human Resources Council. (1/29/13)

      "2012 Employment Law Roundup," co-presented with Nicole A. Bernabo and Andrea Donovan Napp, webinar (11/15/2012)

      "Managing a Mobile Workforce: Complying with Wage and Hour Laws and Protecting Company Interests," co-presented with Stephen W. Aronson and Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, webinar (5/25/2011)

      "ACO Liability and Risk Management Issues: The Managed Care Perspective," co-presented with Theodore J. Tucci and Michael J. Kolosky, webinar (5/2011)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • December 31, 2021

        National Law Review Spotlights EB+C Practice Group for 2021 "Go-To Thought Leadership Award"

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      • December 16, 2020

        Jean Tomasco Authors ERISA Report Article on COVID-19’s Impact on COBRA Continuation Coverage

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        • View article
      • April 28, 2017

        R+C Attorneys Present an Update on Managed Care Litigation

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      • November 7, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present Webinar on False Claims Act Liability Following Recent Supreme Court Case

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      • April 14, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present an Update on Managed Care Litigation

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      • April 22, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present Update on Managed Care Litigation

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      • February 11, 2014

        R+C Lawyers Speak About Health Care and Health Insurance Developments

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      • January 31, 2014

        R&C Attorneys Speak About Data Privacy and Security in the Workplace

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      • November 21, 2013

        R&C Attorneys Speak About Data Breach Issues

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      • November 8, 2013

        Hartford Lawyer Elected to Board of UConn's Law School Alumni Association

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      • March 25, 2013

        Jean Tomasco Presents Webinar for HR Professionals

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      • February 25, 2013

        Jean Tomasco Interviewed for CBIA's Business Minutes

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      • February 13, 2013

        Jean Tomasco Presents Update on Employment Law to CBIA’s HR Council

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      • December 28, 2012

        Attorneys Present Webinar About Data Security and Privacy from Employer's Perspective

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      • July 11, 2012

        Labor & Employment Attorneys Discuss How to Navigate the Hiring Process

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      • June 15, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Win False Claims Act Cases

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      • November 11, 2011

        Employment and Benefits Attorneys Publish ERISA Health Plan Fiduciaries Article

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      • June 8, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Present Webinar on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)

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      • June 3, 2011

        Labor and Employment Attorneys Discuss Legal Considerations of Telework Arrangements

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      • December 15, 2010

        Health and Benefits Litigators Win “Appropriate Care” Disability Insurance Case

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      • October 29, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Presents at CBIA Conference

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      • April 1, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Speaks on Benefits Issues

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      R+C News Releases

      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

        • » more info
        • View article
    • Legal Updates/Newsletters

      Legal Updates/Newsletters

      "Reminder: Connecticut Employment Laws Effective October 1, 2021" co-authored with Emily A. Zaklukiewicz and Kayla N. West (9/30/2021)

      "Considerations for Employers Thinking about COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates" co-authored with Natale V. DiNatale, Stephen W. Aronson and Kayla N. West (9/1/2021)

      "2021 Labor and Employment-Related Legislation from the Connecticut General Assembly" co-authored with Kayla N. West, Stephen W. Aronson and Natale V. DiNatale (6/24/2021)

      "Status of Noncompete Agreements in 2021: Consider Alternatives to Protect Your Business Interests" co-authored with Stephen W. Aronson, Natale V. DiNatale, Abby M. Warren, Kayla N. West and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz (3/17/2021)

      "COBRA Subsidies Return as Part of Latest COVID-19 Relief Bill" co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan, Bruce B. Barth and Virginia E. McGarrity (3/11/2021)

      "IRS Issues More COVID-Related Guidance on Flexible Spending Accounts" co-authored with Bruce B. Barth, Virginia E. McGarrity and Alisha N. Sullivan (3/8/2021)

      "New EBSA Relief Notice Affects Extension of ERISA Claim Deadlines" co-authored with Patrick W. Begos (3/5/2021)

      "EBSA Notice and COBRA Extension Expiration" co-authored with Virginia E. McGarrity, Alisha N. Sullivan, Patrick W. Begos and Bruce B. Barth (3/1/2021)

      "CDC Develops Guidelines for a Happy Holiday Season: What Employers Need to Know" co-authored with Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Emily A. Zaklukiewicz and Abby M. Warren (11/30/2020)

      "New FMLA Model Notices and Forms Issued by the U.S. DOL Reflect Significant Changes" co-authored with Stephen W. Aronson, Emily A. Zaklukiewicz, Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Abby M. Warren (9/18/2020)