United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WILLIAM E. CASSADY, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Magistrate Judge for entry of a report and recommendation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), on the motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint (doc. 69) and memorandum of law in support (doc. 70) filed by Teledyne Technologies Incorporated Pension Plan and Plan Administrative Committee of the Teledyne Technologies Incorporated Pension Plan ("the Teledyne Defendants"), the Plaintiff's response (doc. 61), and the Teledyne Defendants' reply (doc. 63). After consideration of the Teledyne Defendants' motion and the briefs of the parties, it is the Magistrate Judge's RECOMMENDATION that the motion to dismiss (doc. 69) be GRANTED as discussed below.
Background and Relevant Allegations in the Amended Complaint
The Plaintiff, James Moore, brings this action seeking relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. ("ERISA"). The Plaintiff alleges that he was previously employed by Teledyne Technologies Incorporated and Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, at which time he became a participant in the Teledyne and/or Allegheny pension plans. (Doc. 67, ¶ 7.) Currently, the Plaintiff works as an employee for Continental Motors, Inc., but he alleges that he continues to be a participant in the Teledyne and/or Allegheny plans. ( Id. ) The Plaintiff further asserts the following relevant factual allegations:
15. In preparation for retirement, and in order to insure that he had adequate retirement income, [the Plaintiff] requested that the Plan provide him a calculation of the benefit he would receive at normal retirement. Plaintiff received a response from Allegheny Technologies Benefit Center informing him that he was entitled to [a] pension benefit of $607.20 per month.
16. Based upon the terms of the Plans, [the Plaintiff] should be credited with approximately 38 years of service and is entitled to a substantially greater monthly benefit.
17. [The Plaintiff] or his representative contacted the Plan Administrator seeking clarification concerning the amount of benefit payable; specifically, he sought information regarding the years of service upon which the estimated benefit was based. [The Plaintiff] also informed the Plan Administrator of the potential error in calculation of the credited years of service.
18. [The Plaintiff] did not receive a response to his first written request for clarification and information. His representative sent a second letter dated February 6, 2014 renewing his request for clarification and requesting specific plan documents.
19. The Plan Administrator and/or the Plan Defendants have failed or refused to respond to the requests for clarification.
20. As noted above, in addition to the request for clarification of benefits, [the Plaintiff] requested that the Plan Administrator provide documents under which the Plan is established or operated, including but not limited to the latest summary plan description, the latest updated plan document, the latest annual report, the bargaining agreement or agreements applicable to the Plan, the trust agreement, copies of predecessor plans and summary plan descriptions, and any contract or any other document by which the Plan is established or operated. The request was made pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4) on about March 6, 2014. The Plan Administrator has not responded to the request for documents despite the fact that more than 30 days have elapsed since the request.
21. [The Plaintiff] has exhausted all administrative remedies available to remedy his claim.
( Id., ¶¶ 15-21.)
In Count I of the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Plaintiff seeks a clarification regarding his right to future benefits under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B). ( Id., ¶¶ 22-25.) Specifically, the Plaintiff contends that the Plan Administrator should recalculate his estimated monthly pension benefit using his thirty-eight years of service, rather than the substantially shorter period of service upon which the benefit estimate he received was based. ( Id. ) In Count II, the Plaintiff demands relief for the Defendants' failure to respond to the Plaintiff's request for plan documents. ( Id., ¶¶ 26-28.) The Plaintiff alleges that "[t]he failure to respond to Plaintiff's request for plan documents within thirty (30) days violates 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) and is actionable under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(A)." ( Id., ¶ 28.)
The Teledyne Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Docs. 69 and 70.) The Teledyne Defendants argue that the Plaintiff cannot seek a clarification of his right to benefits in this Court because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Doc. 70 at 5-10.) The Teledyne Defendants also argue that the Plaintiff cannot pursue relief for the Defendants' alleged failure to provide plan documents because the Plaintiff has not ...