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LAYAOU v. XEROX CORP.

September 28, 1999

JOHN LAYAOU, PLAINTIFF,
v.
XEROX CORPORATION, PETER DEMAURO, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF XEROX CORPORATION, THE RETIREMENT INCOME GUARANTEE PLAN (RIGP), DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Larimer, Chief Judge.

  DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, John Layaou, originally commenced this action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. The original complaint alleged that defendants Xerox Corporation ("Xerox") and Peter DeMauro, plaintiff's former supervisor, terminated his employment in January 1994 on account of his age. Plaintiff (who was born in 1940) also asserted an age discrimination claim under the New York State Human Rights Law ("HRL"), N.Y.Exec.L. § 296, as well as what apparently purported to be a breach-of-contract claim alleging that Xerox had refused to pay him certain benefits to which he was entitled under the "Xerox Retirement Income Guarantee Plan" ("RIGP" or "the Plan").

In a Decision and Order filed on March 27, 1998, I granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion for summary judgment. I dismissed plaintiff's ADEA and HRL claims, and denied defendant's motion to dismiss the claim relating to the RIGP benefits. I also found, however, that the latter claim was governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., and gave plaintiff thirty days to file an amended complaint repleading that claim under ERISA.

Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended complaint asserting a cause of action under ERISA. Despite my prior dismissal of plaintiff's age discrimination claims, the amended complaint also contained the same ADEA and HRL claims that had been asserted in the original complaint, apparently because of plaintiff's attorney's belief that it was necessary to do so in order to preserve plaintiff's right to appeal my prior dismissal of those claims. On November 3, 1998, plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint adding certain allegations relating to plaintiff's exhaustion of his remedies under the RIGP. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment dismissing the Second Amended Complaint.*fn1

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts relating to plaintiff's ERISA claim are fully set forth in my prior summary judgment decision, familiarity with which is assumed, and will not be repeated at length here. In general, the complaint alleges that at the time of his termination, plaintiff was entitled to a supplement to his retirement benefits under the RIGP. Plaintiff states that Xerox, contrary to the terms of the Plan (at least as they had been represented to plaintiff), deducted from his RIGP monthly benefit $513 to which he is entitled.

Plaintiff alleges that he submitted a request for additional benefits, and that his request was denied, as was his subsequent appeal to the Plan Administrator. Defendants do not contend that plaintiff has failed to exhaust his remedies under the Plan.

In support of their motion for summary judgment, defendants rely upon certain provisions in the RIGP relating to the calculation of benefits. Specifically, § 1.9 states:

  Where a Member has received a distribution from his
  Cash Balance Retirement Account ["CBRA"] balance
  prior to the relevant time, it shall be assumed that
  his actual Cash Balance Retirement Account balance at
  the relevant time includes an amount equal to the sum
  so distributed as it would have increased during the
  period from the time of the distribution to the
  relevant time if such

  sum had continued to be invested in the Cash Balance
  Retirement Account.

Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment Ex. C at 5.

Section 1.41 similarly states:

  Where a Member has received a distribution from his
  Transitional Retirement Account ["TRA"] prior to the
  relevant time, it shall be assumed that his actual
  Transitional Retirement Account balance at the
  relevant time includes an amount equal to the sum so
  distributed as it would have increased or decreased
  during the period from the time of the distribution
  to the relevant time if such sum had been invested in
  the Separate Fund (as defined in the Profit Sharing
  Plan) or the Segregated Assets Fund, in whichever the
  Member participated at the time of the distribution.

Id. at 12.

Section 9.6 states:

  Nonduplication of Benefits. In the event any part
  of or all of a Member's accrued benefit is
  distributed to him prior to his Normal Retirement
  Date, if Section 8.8 does not apply to such
  distribution and such Member at any time thereafter
  recommences active participation in the Plan, the
  accrued benefit of such Member based on all Years of
  ...

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