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COOK WHOLESALE OF MEDINA, INC. v. CONNECTICUT GEN.

September 20, 1995

COOK WHOLESALE OF MEDINA, INC., and JANIS R. SMITH, AS TRUSTEE OF THE COOK WHOLESALE OF MEDINA, INC. PENSION TRUST, and JANIS R. SMITH, INDIVIDUALLY, Plaintiffs, -vs- CONNECTICUT GENERAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, CHARLES K. SAUBERAN, DOING BUSINESS UNDER THE FIRM NAME SAUBERAN, COX AND ASSOCIATES, and CIGNA SECURITIES, INC., Defendants.

JOHN T. CURTIN, United States District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN T. CURTIN

Plaintiffs Cook Wholesale of Medina, Inc. ("Cook") and its corporate officer and plan trustee, Janis R. Smith brought suit in state court against defendants Cigna Securities, Inc. ("Cigna"), Connecticut General Life Insurance Company ("Connecticut General") and their authorized agent and representative, Charles K. Sauberan, based upon the defendants' alleged failure to provide the plaintiffs with financial planning services for which they had contracted, including a benefit pension plan for Cook's employees. Defendants removed the action to federal court, claiming that the plaintiffs' state law claims are preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 1001 et seq. (1990), and moved to dismiss the complaint. Plaintiffs seek to remand their case to state court or, in the alternative, to amend their complaint to state a federal cause of action.

 The facts are largely undisputed. In January of 1989, corporate plaintiff Cook, through its officer, plaintiff Janis Smith, entered into a written "personal financial planning contract" whereby corporate defendant Cigna, through its agent defendant Charles Sauberan, agreed to provide Cook with planning services. The contract provides:

 
1. GENERAL PURPOSE.
 
By this contract, you engage Advisor to provide personal financial planning services, as described below, and Advisor agrees to provide these services.
 
2. SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED.
 
During the initial year of this contract Advisor will provide planning services summarized by a written plan for you which reflects your current financial circumstances, your financial outlook and your personal objectives. Your plan will include the items checked below:
 
X Estate Planning
 
X Business Continuity Planning
 
X Fringe Benefit Planning
 
X Income Tax and Investment Planning
 
3. PLANNING WILL FOLLOW THIS PROCESS.
 
In creating your plan, you and Advisor will follow this process:
 
a. Data: You will provide Advisor with comprehensive data concerning your current and prospective financial and personal circumstances.
 
b. Objectives: Advisor will help you determine specific financial objectives, taking into account such matters as current and anticipated income and income tax levels, investment and noninvestment assets, anticipated cash flow, and your investment risk tolerance, as well as the role your family situation, fringe benefits, and your business interest(s), if any, play in meeting these objectives.
 
c. Financial Plan: On the basis of the data you provide and the objectives chosen, Advisor will design a personal financial ...

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