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POGGI v. NEW YORK SHIPPING ASSOCIATION-INTERNATION

December 26, 1985

JOSEPH POGGI, Plaintiff, against NEW YORK SHIPPING ASSOCIATION-INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION PENSION TRUST FUND; NEW YORK SHIPPING ASSOCIATION-INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION PENSION TRUST FUND TRUSTEES; JOHN BOWERS, DONALD CARSON, ANTHONY PIMPINELLA, JAMES G. COSTELLO, LOUIS W. MACIJISKI and MICHAEL E. MAHER; and ANTHONY AURIGEMMA, PENSION DIRECTOR, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET

SWEET, ROBERT W., U.S.D.J.

Plaintiff Joseph Poggi ("Poggi") has moved under Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P., for summary judgment directing the defendants New York Shipping Association-International Longshoremen's Association ("NYSA-ILA") Pension Trust Fund (the "Fund"), John Bowers, Donald Carson, Anthony Pimpinella, James G. Costello, Louis W. Macijiski and Michael E. Maher and Anthony Aurigemma (collectively the "Trustees") to pay a disability benefit effective July 1, 1984, and declaring him to be entitled to a retirement pension on his sixty-fifth birthday and a ten-year pension as of November, 1977. The Fund and the Trustees have cross-moved to dismiss the complaint. All parties agree that no factual issue is presented. For the reasons set forth below, the cross-motion is granted and summary judgment will be entered dismissing the complaint.

 Poggi, a longshoreman, by 1972 had sixteen years of credited service, thirteen of which from 1957 to 1969 were credited for actual work performed. The NYSA-ILA collective bargaining agreement of 1971 and subsequent agreements have provided for a longshoreman to receive Guaranteed Annual Income "(GAI") benefits under certain conditions. Poggi obtained GAI credits from 1969.

 On August 21, 1972, Poggi became employed full-time as an investigator for the Legal Aid Society and has continued such full-time employment to date. On June 5, 1984, Poggi applied for a disability pension to be paid from the fund, and based on Poggi's file, the Trustees ratified the Fund Directors' recommendation that such pension be granted effective July 1, 1984. Prior to the July 1, 1984 effective date, Poggi's eligibility was questioned on the basis of outside employment and payment of the pension was suspended. After confirmation of Poggi's employment by Legal Aid on August 3, 1984 he was denied his pension.

 Poggi appealed his denial, the denial was affirmed on January 6, 1985, and this action followed.

 The Facts

 Poggi did not file a Rule 3(g) statement and does not contest the defendants' statement which is thereby undisputed and annexed as Appendix A, constituting the findings of fact.

 Conclusions

 Simply stated, Poggi's position is that the NYSLA-ILA Pension Trust and Plan under which the Fund operates contains no provision against outside employment, that the Trustees improperly followed the direction of the contest board, and that section 203 of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1053, applied retroactively, shields him from the pre-ERISA break in service provision contained in the pension plan.

 Poggi could only qualify for a disability pension if he met each of the following three independent conditions set forth in the pension plan:

 1. He was forty years old;

 2. he was employed in the industry for a continuous period of fifteen years immediately prior to his application; and

 3. he was employed in the industry at the time he became disabled.

 In light of the above eligibility requirements, Poggi was not qualified for a disability pension if (1) he was not employed in the industry for fifteen (15) continuous years immediately prior to his application in June of 1984; and (2) he was not employed in the industry at the time he became disabled in 1984; and (3) if by virtue of his pre-ERISA break in ...


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