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Magin v. Cellco Partnership

February 23, 2007

DAVID C. MAGIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP D/B/AVERIZON WIRELESS; VERIZON WIRELESS MANAGED DISABILITY PLAN; AND METLIFE CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Norman A. Mordue, Chief U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

In this action pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq., plaintiff seeks to recover benefits under a managed disability benefit plan and to clarify his right to future benefits. See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B). Defendants move (Dkt. No. 9) for dismissal of the complaint pursuant to Fed. Rule Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Defendants contend that plaintiff's claim for short-term disability benefits is time-barred and that his claim for long-term disability benefits must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court denies the motion.

COMPLAINT

In his complaint (Dkt. No. 1), plaintiff alleges that he was employed by defendant Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless or its predecessor ("Verizon Wireless") from 1995 through at least June of 2004; that through his employment with Verizon Wireless, he was a participant in and beneficiary of a managed disability plan, known as the Verizon Wireless Managed Disability Plan; and that the plan is an "employee welfare benefit plan" covered by ERISA. See 29 U.S.C. § 1002(1). The complaint further claims the following:

Plaintiff, David Magin, was involved in a life threatening automobile accident on October 7, 2000, suffering serious and disabling injuries. Said disabling condition made it impossible for the plaintiff to perform any useful work or function for which he was suited by learning and experience.

As a result of his disabling condition, plaintiff was unable to continue working at Verizon from October 7, 2000 thru [sic] May of 2001. While out of work during this period of time plaintiff applied for and received benefits under Verizon's Plan and/or the plan promulgated by Verizon's predecessors in interest.

On September 10, 2002, plaintiff David Magin was diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the life threatening automobile accident suffered by him on October 7, 2000.

On February 9, 2004, plaintiff was taken out of work by his doctors as a result of ongoing difficulties/disability associated with the aforementioned anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

As of February 9, 2004, plaintiff was totally disabled pursuant to the terms of Verizon's Plan as he was unable to perform the essential functions of his job and was unable to perform any other job/occupation for which he was qualified by training, education and/or experience.

Shortly thereafter, plaintiff applied to defendants for benefits under the Verizon Plan.

Plaintiff's application for benefits was denied by defendants as were plaintiff's subsequent appeals even though plaintiff was totally disabled within the meaning of the terms of Verizon's Plan and was entitled to short and/or long term disability benefits in accordance with the terms of said plan Subsequent to February 9, 2004, plaintiff's request for benefits under Verizon's Plan were [sic] denied even though plaintiff was "totally disabled" within the meaning of the terms of Verizon's Plan and was and is entitled to short and long term disability benefits in accordance with the terms of the Plan.

Plaintiff has exhausted all his administrative remedies as Verizon Wireless has denied all of plaintiff's attempts to procure disability benefits under Verizon's Plan. (Paragraph numbering omitted.) Plaintiff seeks an award of benefits under the managed disability plan from February 9, 2004, to the present; a declaration that his medical condition rendered him totally disabled within the meaning of the plan; compensatory damages in ...


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