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FROMMERT v. CONKRIGHT

June 3, 2002

PAUL J. FROMMERT, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
V.
SALLY L. CONKRIGHT, PATRICIA M. NAZEMETZ AND LAWRENCE M. BECKER, XEROX CORPORATION PLAN ADMINISTRATORS, XEROX CORPORATION RETIREMENT INCOME GUARANTEE PLAN, AND XEROX CORPORATION, A NEW YORK CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS. GAIL J. LEVY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. SALLY L. CONKRIGHT, PATRICIA M. NAZEMETZ AND LAWRENCE M. BECKER, XEROX CORPORATION PLAN ADMINISTRATORS, XEROX CORPORATION RETIREMENT INCOME GUARANTEE PLAN, AND XEROX CORPORATION, A NEW YORK CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



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

DECISION AND ORDER

Introduction

Plaintiffs commenced these actions*fn1 under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Presently before the Court is defendants' motion, under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), to dismiss portions of the complaint in each action.

Factual Background

Plaintiffs are employees or former employees of Xerox, each of whom worked for Xerox during two separate periods of time. During each plaintiff's original period of employment, he or she was a participant in Xerox' pension plan, known as the Retirement Income Guarantee Plan ("RIGP" or "the Plan"). Upon their initial termination of employment, each plaintiff received a lump sum distribution of his pension benefit. Each plaintiff was later re-hired by Xerox and again became a participant in the RIGP. Under the terms of the RIGP, the amount of plaintiffs' pension benefit is offset by the amount of their prior distribution plus any earnings which would have accrued had plaintiffs left their money in the plan.

Procedural Background

Plaintiffs, currently 96 in number, challenge the method used to calculate the offset for prior distributions. Plaintiffs' principally contend that Xerox improperly used the offset procedure which reduced the pension benefits of Xerox rehires. Because most of the plaintiffs are still employed with Xerox, they seek a determination now that their pension plan will not be so affected by the challenged offset procedure.

In their most recent iterations, plaintiffs' 791 paragraph, 173 page, second amended complaint in Frommert (Dkt. #71) and plaintiffs' 201 paragraph, 64 page, amended complaint in Levy (Dkt. #3) seek, inter alia, damages, injunctive relief, and a declaratory judgment. The complaints in Frommert and Levy each contain seven separate claims for relief. More particularly, plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment (first count). They also seek relief under sections 1132(a)(1)(B) and (a)(3) (second count), sections 1054(g) and (h) (fifth count), section 1140 (sixth count), and sections 1054(d) and (e) (seventh count). In addition, they claim a breach of fiduciary obligation (third count), and violations of ERISA forfeiture provisions (fourth count).

Defendants have moved, under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), to dismiss the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh counts of the complaints. They also move to dismiss the second count insofar as it makes any claims against any defendants except the RIGP, and to the extent that it purports to set forth a claim under § 1132(a)(3). For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss — General Standards

In order to prevail on a motion to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the moving party must show that "it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). When presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court's function "is merely to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which might be offered in support thereof." Geisler v. Petrocelli, 616 F.2d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 1980). "Thus `[t]he issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims.'" York v. Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 286 F.3d 122, 125 (2d Cir. 2002) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)).

On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, then, the "complaint must be sustained if relief could be granted `under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.'" National Org. for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 256 (1994) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)); see also Patel v. Contemporary Classics of Beverly Hills, 259 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2001) (on motion to dismiss, district court must accept all allegations in the complaint as true and draw all inferences in non-moving party's ...


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