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ROEDER v. GENERAL SIGNAL CORP.

September 20, 1995

IRVING A. ROEDER, Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL SIGNAL CORPORATION and LIGHTNIN, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LARIMER

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, Irving A. Roeder ("Roeder"), filed a complaint on January 13, 1995, alleging that defendants, General Signal Corporation and Lightnin, illegally terminated him because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.) and the New York Human Rights Law (Executive Law §§ 290 et seq.). In the fourth cause of action, Roeder pleads a claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), alleging that defendants discriminated and retaliated against him, in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 1140 *fn1" , because he exercised his rights under ERISA by requesting certain pension information.

 Defendants now move to dismiss the ERISA cause of action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants' motion to dismiss is denied.

 FACTS

 The facts as viewed in the light most favorable to Roeder, the non-moving party, are as follows. Roeder began working for Lightnin on December 1, 1978. Prior to his retirement on July 31, 1993, Roeder was Vice-President of North American Operations and was in charge of three divisions in the United States and Canada. In April 1993, Roeder was assigned to take responsibility for a multi-million dollar capital investment project called Zebra, which was to take approximately three years to complete.

 At the end of April 1993, Roeder asked to see his projected pension figures were he to retire in three, four or five years. According to Roeder, the president of Lightnin thereafter forced him to retire because he concluded that Roeder's request for the pension information indicated that Roeder would retire before the Zebra project was concluded.

 DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

 In order for the court to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12, it must appear beyond doubt that plaintiff could prove no set of facts entitling him to relief. See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Federated Department Stores, Inc., 723 F. Supp. 976, 981 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). The Supreme Court has articulated the court's role on a Rule 12 motion:

 
When a federal court reviews the sufficiency of a complaint, before the reception of any evidence . . . its task is necessarily a limited one. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support its claims. Indeed it may appear on the face of the pleadings that a recovery is very remote and unlikely but that is not the test. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974).

 When considering a motion to dismiss, all inferences must be construed in favor of the plaintiff. LaBounty v. Adler, 933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir. 1991). Thus, the Court "'view[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to, and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party.'" Davidson v. Flynn, 32 F.3d 27, 29 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Madonna v. United States, 878 F.2d 62, 65 (2d Cir. 1989)); see Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322, 31 L. Ed. 2d 263, 92 S. Ct. 1079 (1972).

 Dismissal is proper only when it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. at 45-46.

 In view of these well established principles, I believe that defendants have failed to demonstrate that plaintiff could prove no set of ...


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