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Scanlan v. Kodak Retirement Income Plan

January 12, 2010

MICHAEL SCANLAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KODAK RETIREMENT INCOME PLAN, KODAK RETIREMENT INCOME PLAN COMMITTEE, EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, TRUSTEE OF THE KODAK RETIREMENT INCOME PLAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Michael Scanlan, ("Scanlan"), a former participant in the Kodak Retirement Income Plan (the "Plan"), brings this action against the Plan and its administrators (collectively "KRIPCO"), seeking, inter alia, to compel defendants to declare a "partial termination" of the Plan and to vest the pension benefits in several hundred plan participants, pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and the Plan terms.

The defendants have moved to dismiss the original and amended Complaints (Dkt. #7, #14) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(1) and (6). For the reasons set forth below, those motions are granted, and the First Amended Complaint is dismissed.

FACTS

Scanlan was employed by Kodak for four years and six months, until Kodak sold the division in which he was employed to Carestream. Although Scanlan did not meet Kodak's five-year vesting requirement at that time, he nonetheless filed a claim seeking benefits, arguing that the Carestream transaction caused a "partial termination," which pursuant to the Plan's terms, should have rendered his benefits fully vested.

Although his claim was initially denied, Scanlan challenged the denial.On or about March 31, 2008, the Plan administrators reversed their position, and notified Scanlan that he would receive pension benefits under the Plan.

Scanlan commenced this action on April 29, 2008, purporting to assert claims on behalf of himself and other Plan participants not parties to this case. He filed a First Amended Complaint ("Amended Complaint") on August 19, 2008. (Dkt. #13). In the First Amended Complaint, Scanlan requests that defendants be compelled to declare that a "partial termination" has taken place as that term is defined in the Plan, meaning that all Plan participants within a particular category are fully vested. He further asks that defendants be ordered to pay such participants the full amount of earned benefits. Finally, Scanlan complains that if defendants are not ordered to do so, and if the Internal Revenue Service changes the Plan's present tax-qualified status as a result of the defendants' failure to recognize the alleged partial termination, he and others may suffer damages, in the form of additional taxes levied on their Plan distribution payments.

Since the commencement of this action, Scanlan has elected, pursuant to his rights under the Plan, to receive his Plan benefits via a lump sum distribution. Those benefits have been paid in full by defendants.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must "accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant." Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994), citing Ad-Hoc Comm. of Baruch Black & Hispanic Alumni Ass'n v. Bernard M. Baruch College, 835 F.2d 980, 982 (2d Cir. 1987). Nonetheless, "a plaintiff's obligation . . . requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

II. Scanlan's "Tax Loss" Claims

Initially, I note that Scanlan has failed to allege the existence of an actual "case or controversy" with respect too his claim of damages in the form of ...


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