United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
AMAN JOSEPH CLAUDET JR.
CYTEC RETIREMENT PLAN ET AL
ORDER & REASONS
the Court is Defendant's partial motion to dismiss. R.
Doc. 19. Plaintiff has responded in opposition. R. Doc. 20.
The Court heard oral argument on the motion on February 6,
2018. R. Doc. 29. Having considered the parties'
arguments and the applicable law, the Court now issues this
Order & Reasons.
case arises from a reduction of retirement benefits. R. Doc.
12 at 1. Plaintiff Aman Claudet (“Claudet”) is a
retired beneficiary of Defendant Cytec Retirement Plan
(“the Plan”). R. Doc. 12 at 1. In addition to
Cytec Retirement Plan, Plaintiff brings claims against
Defendant Cytec Industries, Inc. (“Cytec”) and
Defendant Solvay USA, Inc. (“Solvay”). R. Doc. 12
at 2. Plaintiff Claudet alleges that his pension benefits
were reduced by Defendants in contradiction to his plan. R.
Doc. 12 at 1. Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of
similarly situated individuals and alleges that Defendants
have purposefully deprived hundreds of retirees of pension
benefits. R. Doc. 12 at 1-2.
Claudet avers that he was an employee of Cytec and
participated in Cytec's retirement plan, governed by
ERISA. R. Doc. 12 at 3. Claudet retired in 2002 and began
receiving benefits under the Plan. R. Doc. 12 at 5. In 2014,
the Plan was amended and in 2015, Defendant Solvay acquired
Defendant Cytec. R. Doc. 12 at 5. In 2016, Claudet received a
letter from Solvay stating that his pension benefits had been
“incorrectly calculated” and that his benefits
would be reduced. R. Doc. 12 at 6. Plaintiff sought
clarification of this change and made an ERISA claim for
restoration of his benefits. R. Doc. 12 at 6. This claim was
denied and Claudet submitted an appeal of this denial. R.
Doc. 12 at 7. Plaintiff's appeal was also denied. R. Doc.
12 at 6.
now brings 1) an ERISA claim for benefits, 2) a claim for
declaratory relief, and 3) a claim for breach of fiduciary
duty. R. Doc. 12. Defendants answer these claims and
generally deny the allegations. R. Doc. 7. Defendants raise
eleven defenses including failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, recovery is limited to remedies under
ERISA, and statute of limitations. R. Doc. 7.
ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's breach of fiduciary
duty claim. R. Doc. 19. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's
breach of fiduciary duty claim is brought under section
502(a)(3) of ERISA and that this claim is prohibited because
Plaintiff already has a remedy under section 502(a)(1)(B) of
ERISA in his claim for benefits. R. Doc. 19 at 8-9. Plaintiff
responds in opposition arguing that Defendant's motion is
premature. R. Doc. 20.
LAW & ANALYSIS
Motion to Dismiss Standard
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs
challenges to a court's subject matter jurisdiction. A
court must dismiss a case for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction “when the court lacks the statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate the case.” Home
Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison,
143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting Nowak v.
Ironworkers Local 6 Pension Fund, 81 F.3d 1182, 1187 (2d
Cir. 1996). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure is appropriate when subject matter
jurisdiction is lacking. Ramming v. United States,
281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001). The party asserting
jurisdiction bears the burden of proof. Id. (citing
Barrera-Montenegro v. United States, 74 F.3d 657,
659 (5th Cir. 1996)).
reviewing subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1) may base its opinion on the face of the complaint,
“the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
evidenced in the record, ” or “the complaint
supplemented by undisputed facts plus the court's
resolution of disputed facts.” Ramming, 281
F.3d at 161 (internal citations omitted). A district court
evaluating subject matter jurisdiction “must resolve
disputed facts without giving a presumption of truthfulness
to the plaintiff's allegations.” Vantage
Trailers, Inc. v. Beall Corp., 567 F.3d 745, 748 (5th
ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B) Claim
ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B), a participant or beneficiary may
bring a civil action “to recover benefits due to him
under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the
terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future
benefits under the terms of the plan.” 29 U.S.C. §
1132(a)(1)(B). Here, Plaintiff alleges that Cytec improperly
adjusted benefits. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that Cytec
reinterpreted the plan to lower the monthly benefit received
by retirees. ...