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PESCA v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


March 15, 1995

CARMINE PESCA, Plaintiff, against BOARD OF TRUSTEES, MASON TENDERS' DISTRICT COUNCIL PENSION FUND, Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEWIS A. KAPLAN

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 KAPLAN, District Judge.

 This is an action pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and, more specifically, 29 U.S.C. § 1132. Plaintiff was a construction worker disabled 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.

 Facts

 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)

 For purposes of pension eligibility, a participant is credited with one quarter year for each 150 hours worked for one or more contributing employer during any plan year, provided that no more than four quarters' credit may be allowed in any one year. (Id. § 3(2)(B)(a), at 10) Up to 10 such credits are allowed per year for purposes of pension calculation. (Id. § 3(2)(A)(a), at 9) Plaintiff worked for contributing employers from 1982 through part of 1989, a period of approximately 7.5 years. His hours worked, credits earned, and years of credited service are set forth below: Year Hours Credits Years of Credited (Quarter Years) Service 1982 208.5 1 0 1983 895.5 5 1 1984 2,164.5 10 1 1985 1,912.0 10 1 1986 2,055.5 10 1 1987 2,413.5 10 1 1988 2,171.0 10 1 1989 1,907.0 10 1

19950315

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