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DONALDSON v. HAMBURG SAV. BANK

June 29, 1983

VIRGINIA DONALDSON, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of ROBERT DONALDSON, deceased, Plaintiff, against HAMBURG SAVINGS BANK, THE SAVINGS BANKS RETIREMENT SYSTEM, JOSEPH WERNER, Individually and as President/Chairman of the Board of Directors and Member of the Employees Benefits Committee of HAMBURG SAVINGS BANK, ROY C. SCHOENHAAR, Individually and as President and Member of the EMPLOYEE BENEFITS COMMITTEE OF THE HAMBURG SAVINGS BANK, ROBERT F. PONDT, Individually and as Executive Vice President of the HAMBURG SAVINGS BANK and PAUL S. LaROSA, Individually and as Assistant Vice President of HAMBURG SAVINGS BANK RETIREMENT PLAN, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

McLAUGHLIN, District Judge

 By this action, brought under § 502 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1132, plaintiff seeks a declaration that she is entitled to full disability pension benefits under the Retirement Plan of Hamburg Savings Bank ("the Plan.") She also requests an award of the difference between the pension benefits that she has been receiving and those she would be receiving under the disability provision of the Plan. Demands for damages for fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and failure to provide pension information are also included in the complaint.

 Defendants have moved for summary judgment, pursuant to Rule 56, Fed. R. Civ. P. For the reasons developed below, the motion is granted, and the case is dismissed.

 FACTS

 Plaintiff is the administratrix of the estate of Robert Donaldson.

 Defendant Hamburg Savings Bank ("Hamburg"), organized and operating under New York law, offers its employees a Retirement and Disability Plan. That Plan is administered by defendant Savings Banks Retirement System ("SBRS"), a not-for-profit trust created under New York law for the purpose of providing retirement benefits for the employees of member savings banks.

 The individual defendants are: Joseph Werner, former President and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hamburg; Roy C. Schoenhaar, current President of Hamburg; Paul S. LaRosa, Assistant Vice President of Hamburg; and Robert F. Pondt, Executive Vice President of Hamburg. In addition, defendants Werner and Schoenhaar are members of the Employee Benefits Committee of Hamburg, which has the responsibility of reviewing applications for retirement benefits, and LaRosa is the Administrator of Hamburg's Retirement Plan.

 Plaintiff's deceased husband, Robert Donaldson, was employed by Hamburg for thirty-two years.During that time, he held various positions, including Vice President and Controller. On or about January 9, 1980, while still in Hamburg's employ, decedent was hospitalized for a heart condition.

 On February 1, 1980, LaRosa visited Robert Donaldson in the hospital, and discussed various pension benefit options. LaRosa states, by affidavit, that he informed Donaldson that he was eligible to apply for Disability Retirement which would yield higher benefit payments than a Normal or Early Retirement. Donaldson responded by signing a Disability Retirement Application, which he then gave to LaRosa. Affidavit of Paul S. LaRosa, PP5(a)-(c).

 Robert Donaldson died on February 3, 1980. Plaintiff subsequently inquired about the Disability Benefits, but was informed by Pondt that decedent was not eligible. Plaintiff's request for a copy of her husband's application was denied, in writing, by LaRosa.

 Plaintiff, who has been receiving benefits under the Constructive Option Provision of the Plan, responded to the denial of her request for Retirement Disability Benefits by instituting this suit.

 DISCUSSION OF LAW

 The Disability Retirement Plan under which plaintiff seeks to recover contains several provisions that are significant in this litigation. Section 6.5 of the Plan ...


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