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Picinich v. United Parcel Service

April 15, 2010

RICHARD M. PICINICH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, JIM GROVER, BRENDAN CANAVAN, AND JEFFREY WILSON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Neal P. McCurn, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Presently before the court is a motion by defendants*fn1 United Parcel Service ("UPS"), Jim Grover, Brendan Canavan, and Jeffrey Wilson (collectively, "Defendants") seeking "partial" relief from this court's April 28, 2009 Second Amended Judgment ("the Judgment") pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff, Richard M. Picinich ("Plaintiff") opposes Defendants' motion and files a cross-motion "for clarification" of the Judgment. The motions are decided on the papers submitted, without oral argument.

II. Background

Knowledge of the lengthy factual and procedural background of this protracted litigation is presumed, see Picinich v. United Parcel Service, 583 F.Supp.2d 336 (N.D.N.Y. 2008) (aff'd, 318 Fed.Appx. 34 (2d Cir. 2009)) ("Picinich III"); Picinich v. United Parcel Service, No. 5:01-CV-1868, 2005 WL 3542571 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2005) (aff'd in part, vacated in part, 236 Fed.Appx. 663 (2d Cir. 2007) ("Picinich II"); Picinich v. United Parcel Service, 321 F.Supp.2d 485 (N.D.N.Y. 2004), and will only be discussed as is relevant to the pending motions.

After a non-jury trial, this court issued its findings of fact and conclusions of law on December 23, 2005, wherein it ordered, among other things, "that within 45 days of entry of judgment, [UPS] shall make contributions to [Plaintiff's] pension fund." Picinich II, 2005 WL 3542571, at *31. An amended judgment was entered January 18, 2006. Thereafter, Plaintiff appealed and Defendants cross appealed. Upon remand from the Second Circuit, and after further briefing from the parties, this court issued a Memorandum-Decision and Order on April 11, 2008 wherein it again directed, among other things, "that within 45 days of entry of judgment, [UPS] shall make contributions to [Plaintiff's] pension fund." Picinich III, 583F.Supp.2d at 344. Defendants appealed, and the Second Circuit affirmed. After receipt of the Second Circuit's mandate, the Judgment was filed on April 28, 2009 wherein the court directed a third time that "[w]ithin 45 days of entry of judgment, [UPS] shall make contributions to [Plaintiff's] pension fund." Dkt. No. 127.

Defendants now seek partial relief from the Judgment insofar as it directs UPS to "make contributions to [Plaintiff's] pension fund" through February 2024, at which time Plaintiff attains age 65. See Dkt. No. 127. According to Defendants, UPS is legally prevented from complying with the court's directive, because to do so would violate the terms of the UPS Retirement Plan ("the Plan"), the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. ("ERISA"), and the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC").

By his cross motion to "clarify" the Judgment, Plaintiff seeks an order directing Defendants to calculate Plaintiff's pension benefits based upon his last five years of projected salary from 2020 through 2024 as if Plaintiff had received the same increases as other Preload Managers. Plaintiff further seeks an order directing Defendants to deem Picinich and his spouse "retirees" under the Plan for purposes of retiree health insurance coverage for both after they reach age 65.

III. Discussion

A. Rule 60(b) Legal Standard

Pursuant to Rule 60(b), this court, in its discretion, "may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order or proceeding" for any of several enumerated reasons. Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). See also Motorola Credit Corp. v. Uzan, 561 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2009). Such reasons include "mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect[,] . . . the judgment is void[,] . . . or . . . any other reason that justifies relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1), (4) and (6), respectively. Relief under Rule 60(b) is deemed "extraordinary" and is available "only if the moving party demonstrates exceptional circumstances." Motorola Credit Corp., 561 F.3d at 126 (quoting Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir. 2008)). Thus, the standard for vacating a final judgment under Rule 60(b) is a strict one, and the movant faces a heavy burden in over to prevail. See House v. Guadagno, No. 04-CV-0449, 2010 WL 843884, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 9, 2010) (citing Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995)).

B. Defendants' Motion for Partial Relief From the Judgment

Here, Defendants first contend that this court may grant their motion for relief under Rule 60(b) because the portion of the Judgment directing them to contribute to the Plan "is legally void and is based on the mistaken notion that [UPS] can make such contributions to [the Plan,] when it cannot," presumably relying on either Rule 60(b)(1) or (4). Defs.' Letter Motion at 2, Dkt. No. 148-1. In their reply brief, Defendants instead rely on Rule 60(b)(6), which permits relief for any reason, other than the five previously enumerated reasons, "that justifies relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). For timeliness purposes, the difference is not academic, as Rule 60(b)(1) motions must be made "no more than a year after the entry of the judgment" whereas motions under Rule 60(b)(4) or (6) "must be made within a reasonable time." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c)(1). Notably, "[t]he . . . provisions are exclusive and a party 'cannot circumvent the one-year limitation [of Rule 60(b)(1)] by invoking the residual clause (6) of Rule 60(b).'" United Airlines, Inc. v. Brien, 588 F.3d 158, 175 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Serzysko v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 461 F.2d 699, 702 (2d Cir.1972) (per curiam)).

To begin with, any argument that the Judgment is void pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4) has no merit. "A judgment is void ... only if the court that rendered it lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter, or of the parties, or if it acted in a manner inconsistent with due process of law." Thompson v. City of New York, No. 04-CV-2344, 2010 WL 1005866, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2010) (quoting Grace v. Bank Leumi Trust Co., 443 F.3d 180, 193 (2d Cir.2006)) (emphasis added). As this court has jurisdiction of the ...


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