The opinion of the court was delivered by: Larimer, Chief Judge.
Plaintiff Edward J. Walsh ("Walsh") commenced this action on
September 23, 1998 against defendant Eastman Kodak Company
("Kodak"). Pending before this Court is defendant's motion to
dismiss pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6).
For the reasons that follow, defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted and plaintiff's complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
II. Factual Allegations*fn1
Walsh, who was a Kodak employee in 1997, advised Kodak that he
was electing to retire on January 1, 1998. He requested a single
lump-sum payout of the benefits due to him. Based upon
plaintiff's requested retirement date of January 1, 1998, the
amount of the lump-sum retirement benefit that he was entitled to
receive was calculated. The parties agree that this amount was
paid in January, 1998. Plaintiff does not raise any dispute with
respect to the principal amount of the lump sum paid to him.
Rather, plaintiff claims that, because the lump sum benefit was
payable January 1st and was not paid until twenty-five days
later, he was denied the use of the money for that period, and is
entitled to interest thereon.
Plaintiff states that prior to his retirement "it was spelled
out to [him] the exact amount of the lump sum . . . and also the
fact that its delivery would be delayed for administrative
reasons." Plaintiff knew therefore that he would not be paid the
lump sum benefit on January 1, 1998. Plaintiff does not allege
that Kodak ever made any representation that it would pay him any
interest for any delay. Rather, plaintiff maintains that "[t]here
was no discussion, either pro or con, around the question of
interest." Plaintiff further alleges that interest earned on
periods of delay in delivery of lump sum benefits is "used to pay
company program costs."
Defendant moves under Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss what it
characterizes as a claim for extracontractual damages. The exact
basis on which Walsh relies for his claim is, to say the least,
murky. Plaintiff's complaint fails to specify under which statute
he pursues his claim for interest. Rather, it merely states:
"From 1/98 plaintiff has money due for interest lost on lump sum
payment which was withheld for 25 days." Defendant maintains that
this represents a claim premised upon the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.
("ERISA"). Given the amorphous nature of Walsh's complaint, I
will address the possible bases for relief.
In assessing a defendant's motion to dismiss, a court must
accept as true "all well-pleaded factual averments in the
complaint" and "draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor." Wright v. Ernst and Young, LLP,
152 F.3d 169, 173 (2d Cir. 1998), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 119 S.Ct.
870, 142 L.Ed.2d 772 (1999). The court's consideration "is
limited to facts stated on the face of the complaint and in
documents appended to the complaint or incorporated in the
complaint by reference, as well as to matters of which judicial
notice may be taken. Automated Salvage Transport, Inc. v.
Wheelabrator Environmental Systems, Inc., 155 F.3d 59, 67 (2d
Cir. 1998). Dismissal of the complaint is proper only where `it
appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts
in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'"
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2
L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)); see FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b).
In Kodak's motion as well as in plaintiff's response thereto,
the parties allege facts not found in the complaint. Consistent
with Rule 12(b), having chosen not to convert the motion into one
for summary judgment, this Court's inquiry is limited to the four
corners of the complaint. Additional facts raised in submissions
filed subsequent to the complaint will not be considered in
evaluating the motion to dismiss.
However, when a party is proceeding pro se, as is the case
with plaintiff, the Court is obliged to "read his supporting
papers liberally, and . . . interpret them to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest." Soto v. Walker, 44 F.3d 169, 173
(2d Cir. 1995) (quoting Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d
As an initial matter, it cannot be disputed that since Walsh
seeks money from Kodak's retirement income plan, an ERISA covered
plan, it is only under ERISA's provisions that he may proceed.
See Pilot Life Ins. Co. v. Dedeaux, 481 U.S. 41, 52-54, 107
S.Ct. 1549, 1555-1556, 95 L.Ed.2d 39 (1987); Plumbing Industry
Board, Plumbing Local Union No. 1 v. E.W. Howell Co., Inc.,
126 F.3d 61 (2d Cir. 1997). The Court must next determine whether
ERISA's civil enforcement provisions permit the requested relief.
Section 502(a) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132, sets forth six civil
enforcement provisions. A participant or beneficiary may bring a
civil action, for instance, (1) "to recover benefits due to him
under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the
terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future benefits
under the terms of the plan," 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B); (2) "for
appropriate relief under section 409," 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(2);
and (3) "to enjoin any act or practice which violates any
provision of this title or the terms of the plan, or . . . to
obtain other appropriate equitable relief . . . to redress such
violations . . .," 29 U.S.C. § ...