The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kahn, District Judge.
Plaintiff commenced this action in New York State Supreme
Court, alleging claims for breach of contract, intentional
infliction of emotion distress and prima facie tort. On April 24,
1997, Defendant Capital District Physicians' Health Plan, Inc.
("CDPHP") removed the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 on the
grounds of preemption by Section 514(a) of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"),
29 U.S.C. § 1144(a) (1994). On August 26, 1997, Magistrate Judge David N.
Hurd denied Plaintiff's motion to remand the action without
prejudice to renew upon submission of additional relevant
evidence. On renewal, Magistrate Judge Hurd again denied the
motion on the grounds that Plaintiff's claims were preempted by
Presently before the Court is a motion for summary judgment by
Defendant. The Defendant argues again that all of Plaintiff's
claims are preempted by ERISA and must therefore be dismissed.
Defendant further argues that preemption is established as the
law of the case and thus that the claims should be dismissed
without further legal analysis. Plaintiff argues that the claims
fall under a statutory exception to ERISA preemption for claims
based on laws that regulate the insurance industry. After
consideration, the Court find that the claims are preempted and
that the asserted exception is not applicable. Accordingly,
summary judgment is granted to the Defendant.
During the relevant period, Plaintiff was employed by
Prudential Manor Homes, Inc. ("Prudential"), a member of the
Latham Area Chamber of Commerce ("the Chamber"). The Chamber had
previously entered into an agreement ("the Chamber Plan") with
the Defendant, a Health Maintenance Organization ("HMO"), whereby
members of the Chamber and their employees could receive health
care benefits provided by the Defendant at a reduced rate under a
particular health plan referred to as an Emerald 15 Plan.
Seeking to have the decision reversed, Plaintiff first
exhausted administrative appeals, and then filed a grievance with
the New York State Department of Health ("DOH"). On January 27,
1997, the DOH concluded that it was "in agreement with CDPHP's
decision." Wilkes Aff., Dkt. 12, Ex. J.
Under Rule 56(c), summary judgment:
shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The moving party
has the initial burden of "informing the district court of the
basis for its motion" and identifying the matter that "it
believes demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323,
106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Federal Deposit Ins.
Corp. v. Giammettei, 34 F.3d 51, 54 (2d Cir. 1994). The
substantive law determines which facts are material to the
outcome of a particular litigation. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at
250, 106 S.Ct. 2505. In determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities, and draw all
reasonable inferences against the moving party. See Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106
S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) (citing United States v.
Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176
(1962)); Hurwitz v. Sher, 982 F.2d 778, 780 (2d Cir. 1992),
cert. denied, 508 U.S. 912, 113 S.Ct. 2345, 124 L.Ed.2d 255
If the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to
the non-moving party to come forward with "specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The
non-moving party must "do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita,
475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348. Only when it is apparent,
however, that no rational finder of fact "could find in favor of
the non-moving party because the evidence to support its ...