as a result of an injury sustained on October 23, 1989. He claims that the defendant's denial of his application for union disability benefits was improper and seeks to recover the benefits claimed, punitive damages and attorneys fees. Defendant moves for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.
The pertinent facts are undisputed.
The defendant (the "Fund") is a self-insured, jointly administered, multi-employer, labor-management trust fund established and maintained pursuant to various collective bargaining agreements and trust agreements in accordance with Section 302(c)(5) and (c)(6) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 186(c)(5) and 9(c)(6). It is also an employee benefit plan and a multi-employer plan within the meaning of ERISA.
Plaintiff is a Fund participant who submitted a claim for disability benefits in November 1993. The 1989 Fund plan (the "1989 Plan") is the plan document in effect at the time plaintiff was disabled and governs this action.
Under the terms of the 1989 Plan, a participant is eligible for a union disability benefit if the participant:
"is in receipt of a Social Security Disability Pension, or . . . was in receipt of such pension immediately prior to his 65th birthday . . . at any age, provided he has at least eight years of credit for service, as defined in Section 3., or a combination of both." (Hanrahan Aff. Ex. A at 14)