Patrick C. DiCarlo

Patrick C. DiCarlo is Counsel at Alston & Bird's Atlanta office. He has more than 18 years of experience litigating employee benefit disputes, and counseling plan sponsors and fiduciaries on regulatory compliance issues and litigation avoidance. Mr. DiCarlo has counseled and represented some of America's largest employers in disputes stemming from service provider fees, investments in employer securities, the prudence of particular investments, executive compensation disputes, disclosure issues and challenges to benefit claim review procedures and decisions. Recently, his practice has focused on counseling clients regarding the new fee disclosure regulations (including drafting participant disclosures and investment policy statements), designing benefit claim procedures and litigating benefit disputes of all types. He also advises plan fiduciaries and service providers on the structuring of financial products and related fiduciary and prohibited transaction concerns. Mr. DiCarlo is currently recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading individual in the ERISA Litigation category. He received his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Georgia. He is a member of the Reporting and Disclosure subcommittee of the ABA’s Employee Benefits Committee.


  • University of Georgia (J.D., 1994)
  • University of Georgia (A.B., 1991)

Recent Representations

  • Represent clients in multiple IRS and DOL audits.
  • Advise multiple alternative investment funds (including plan asset funds, real estate operating companies and venture capital operating companies) regarding fiduciary and prohibited transaction issues.
  • Argued before the Eleventh Circuit in a suit challenging the legality of an amendment freezing pension benefits under the anti-cutback rule. Cinotto v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 674 F.3d 1285 (11th Cir. 2012).
  • Argued before Eighth Circuit question of whether SPD can resolve ambiguities in plan document and related issues. Prezioso v. Prudential, 748F.3d 797, (8th Cir. 2014).
  • Argued before Fourth Circuit question of plan language required for deferential judicial review. Cosey v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 735 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2012).
  • Lead defense counsel in a case in which the Fifth Circuit reversed summary judgment for the plaintiff and mandated the entry of a judgment for the defendant. Marrs v. Prudential, 444 Fed. Appx. 75 2011 WL 4216226 (C.A. 5 (La.)).
  • Lead defense counsel is a case in which the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendant Baird v. Prudential, 458 Fed. Appx. 39, 2012 WL 255222 (C.A.2 (N.Y.)).
  • Obtained dismissal of a class action challenging the prudence of investments in employer securities. In re Nokia ERISA Litigation.
  • Defense counsel in a case alleging huge losses associated with a decline in the value of company stock in a 401(k) plan. Pedraza v. Coca-Cola, 456 F.Supp.2d 1262 (N.D.Ga. 2006).
  • Independent counsel to a plan committee for the purposes of a classwide claim challenging the plan’s offset provisions. White v. Coca-Cola,542 F.3d 848, 850-51 (11th Cir. 2008).
  • Defense counsel in a stock drop case alleging billions in damages, as well as a related securities fraud suit. Hill v. BellSouth, 313 F.Supp. 2d 1361 (N.D.Ga 2004).
  • Argued successfully before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging claim handling procedures. Gayle v. UPS, 401 F.3d 222 (4th Cir. 2005).
  • Counsel for a major airline in a five-year dispute over actuarial methods used to calculate defined pension benefits and alleged cut-back. See generally Waeltz v. Delta, 301 F3d 804 (7th Cir. 2002).
  • Argued successfully before the Fourth Circuit on the issue of whether individual insurance policies sold through “cafeteria plans” are subject to ERISA preemption. Casselman v. Aflac, 143 Fed. Appx. 507, 2005 WL 1492208, 35 Employee Benefits Cas. 1233 (4th Cir. 2005).
  • Lead counsel for a major chemical company in a week-long jury trial in state court on breach of fiduciary duty for failure to disclose a claim. See generally Flexible Products v. Ervast, 284 Ga.App. 178, 643 S.E.2d 560 (2007) (finding in favor of the defendants in a non-disclosure claim brought by a minority shareholder).
  • Defeated RICO, ERISA and state law securities claims in an ESOP valuation dispute. Cook v. Campbell, 482 F.Supp.2d 1341 (M.D.Ala. 2007).

Publications & Press

Patrick DiCarlo, counsel in the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group, spoke with PLANSPONSOR on the growing number of claims for pension benefits that were paid or rolled over decades ago by former employees who either don’t recall receiving or rolling over benefits or who are questioning the amount of benefits they received.
Since the early 1980s, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not allow punitive or extracontractual damages.
Pat DiCarlo of the ERISA Litigation Group has been honored with a 2014 Grass Roots Justice Award, presented by the Georgia Justice Project for his “groundbreaking, ongoing work in reducing collateral consequences of criminal records and providing quality counsel to veterans and others in need.”
The Georgia Bar Journal recently published an extensive piece on the Emory Law Volunteer Clinic, a program supported by Alston & Bird and staffed in part with firm attorneys.
Pat DiCarlo, member of the firm’s Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group, was quoted in Bloomberg BNA’s Pension & Benefits Daily in an article titled “DOL Issues Long-Awaited Proposed Rule on Guide 401(k) Fee Disclosures.”
At a lunchtime ceremony on February 27, 2014, Alston & Bird was named Best Law Firm - Innovation at the inaugural CTA Intelligence Service Awards, created to recognize and reward those who have provided outstanding support and services to the North American managed futures industry over the past 12 months.
Twenty-one Alston & Bird practices have been listed in the 2013 Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. These include Antitrust; Banking & Finance; Bankruptcy/Restructuring; Capital Markets: REITs; Construction; Corporate/M&A; Energy; Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation; Environment; ERISA Litigation; Government: Government Relations; Health Care; Immigration; Intellectual Property; International Trade; Labor & Employment; Litigation: General Commercial, including White-Collar and Securities Litigation; Outsourcing; Privacy & Data Security; Real Estate; Tax.
On Thursday, October 4, the St. Thomas More Society members honored Alston & Bird attorney Pat DiCarlo and his uncle, Lane Dennard, at the annual Red Mass Luncheon and Awards Ceremony held following mass.
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