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Kendall W. Davis v. American Optical Corporation

February 20, 2012

KENDALL W. DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN OPTICAL CORPORATION, AMERICAN OPTICAL CORPORATION RETIREMENT PLAN ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Pro se Plaintiff Kendall W. Davis brings a denial of retirement benefits claim against various Defendants alleging the improper denial of benefits for the full term of his employment. Over the course of a complaint, an amended complaint, and a second amended complaint, Plaintiff names as defendants American Optical Corporation (American Optical), the American Optical Corporation Retirement Plan Administrative Committee (the "Plan Committee" or "Committee"), M & R Industries ("M & R"), the American Optical Corporation Retirement Plan (the "Retirement Plan"), and Markin Tubing, Inc. ("Markin"). Presently before this Court is Defendant American Optical's August 1, 2011 Motion to Dismiss, American Optical and the Plan Committee's August 16, 2011 Motion to Dismiss, and American Optical, the Retirement Plan, M & R, and Markin's August 26, 2011 Motion to Dismiss. (Docket Nos. 3, 6, 11.)*fn1 Also before this Court are cross-motions by Plaintiff, discussed in greater detail below. (Docket Nos. 9, 22.) For the following reasons, Defendants' second motion to dismiss is granted, and Defendants' remaining motions are denied as moot. Plaintiff's motions are denied.*fn2

At the outset this Court must clarify, what has become, a convoluted record by addressing two separate issues.

First, Plaintiff has filed two cross-motions for "judgment," dated August 22, 2011 and September 20, 2011. These motions each consist of a single sentence, and ask this Court to grant "cross motion judgment to Plaintiff." Despite its best efforts, this Court remains unclear under what rule of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Plaintiff brings his motions. This Court is inclined to interpret Plaintiff's motions as constituting motions for judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(c), recognizing, however, that Defendants' have not filed an answer in the underlying action, rendering Plaintiff's motions improper. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) (parties permitted to move for judgment on the pleadings after pleadings are closed, but before motion would delay trial). Accordingly, Plaintiff's motions will be dismissed, although this Court will interpret any accompanying memoranda as part of Plaintiff's general opposition to Defendants' motions to dismiss.

Second, although Plaintiff is entitled to amend his pleadings once as a matter of course under Rule 15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff has filed a second amended complaint removing certain parties, and adding new ones. Although a court should freely grant leave to amend "when justice so requires," Plaintiff has made no motion to file another amended complaint, nor has he received the opposing parties' written consent. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2); L. R. Civ. P. 15(a). As a result, this Court will not consider the second amended complaint, but will read Defendants' various submissions as seeking dismissal of those claims contained in Plaintiff's prior amended complaint. See Davis v. N. N.Y. Sports Officials' Council, No. 7:09-CV-0514 (GTS/GHL), 2010 WL 3909688, at *3 n. 12 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 30, 2010) (declining to consider new factual allegations where plaintiff failed to file motion to amend pleadings); L. R. Civ. P. 15(a).

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History

In adjudicating Defendants' motions to dismiss, this Court assumes the truth of the following factual allegations contained in Plaintiff's first amended complaint. See Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trs. of Rex Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740, 96 S. Ct. 1848, 1850, 48 L. Ed. 2d 338 (1976); see also Hamilton Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, Inc. v. Hamilton Coll., 128 F.3d 59, 63 (2d Cir. 1997). Plaintiff was employed in March 1966 by Buffalo Metal Fabricating Corporation ("Buffalo Metal") as vice-president of sales. (Am. Comp. ¶ 9, Aug. 8, 2011, Docket No. 5.) Buffalo Metal was purchased by Markin, a part of M & R and American Optical, in October 1984. (Am. Comp. ¶ 10.) Buffalo Metals was then merged into Markin in July 1987. (Am. Comp., Ex. A.)

At an organization meeting in October 1984, Plaintiff was allegedly guaranteed by Buffalo Metal's president, Nick Moroczko, Markin's president, Bart Dambra, and John Furlige, the two companies' controller, that he would receive credit for benefits dating back to 1966, the year he first began working for Buffalo Metal. (Am. Comp. ¶ 22.) Dambra also gave Plaintiff a fourth week of vacation time in March 1986, in accordance with the 20th anniversary of Plaintiff's employment. (Am. Comp. ¶ 23.)

Plaintiff's employment was terminated in February 1989. (Am. Comp. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff intended to file for retirement in 2011, but his request for benefits was denied by Defendants. (Am. Comp. ¶ 4.) He appealed the decision to the Plan Committee, but his appeal was denied on January 28, 2011. (Am. Comp., Ex. A.)*fn3

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced this action on July 5, 2011, by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. American Optical filed a motion to dismiss on August 1, 2011. Plaintiff then amended his complaint, adding the Plan Committee as a defendant. American Optical and the Committee then filed a second motion to dismiss on August 16, 2011. The first of what this Court has interpreted as a cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings was filed by Plaintiff on August 22, 2011, along with a second amended complaint. In response, Defendants filed a third motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed a second cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings on September 20, 2011.

III. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

Rule 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Federal pleading standards are generally not stringent: Rule 8 requires only a short and plain statement of the claim. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). But the plain statement must "possess enough heft to show that the pleader is entitled to relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,127 S. Ct. 1955, 1966, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). When determining whether a complaint states a claim, the court must construe it liberally, accept all factual allegations as true, and draw all reasonable ...


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