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Dean v. Seafarers International Union

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 30, 2018

TIMOTHY D. DEAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SEAFARERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on defendant Seafarers International Union's (“SIU”) motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff has not responded and the time to do so has expired. For the following reasons, SIU's motion to dismiss will be granted.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         This is an action brought by pro se plaintiff Timothy D. Dean under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq., seeking pension benefits. Plaintiff alleges he joined the U.S. Merchant Marines in March 1975 and began employment as a tugboat cook in the steward department in 1976. Plaintiff alleges he was eligible for and participated in the defendants Seafarers Money Purchase Plan (“Purchase Plan”) and the Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan (“Pension Plan”) until he left his position in 1981.

         Plaintiff alleges that during the years of 1976 to 1981, he contributed approximately $85, 000.00 into the Purchase Plan and the Pension Plan, but was only paid $3, 537.04 after submitting an application for distribution. Plaintiff attached four exhibits to his complaint:[1] (1) a Form 1099, issued by the Purchase Plan, reflecting a gross distribution to plaintiff in the amount of $3, 367.37; (2) a letter from the Pension Plan to plaintiff, dated July 22, 2008, reflecting a final net distribution of his voluntary contributions in the amount of $169.67; (3) a letter from the Social Security Administration to plaintiff, dated February 15, 2018, evidencing that plaintiff has been disabled since April 30, 2010, and receiving monthly supplemental income benefits; and (4) a letter from the Pension Plan to plaintiff, dated August 12, 2013, which states in pertinent part:

         The following are the requirements for the Seafarers Deferred Vested Pension Benefit:

* Must be the normal retirement age of 65 years.
* Must have accumulated ten years of vesting service (a vested year is a year in which an employee has at least 125 days of employment service).
According to Plan records for the period 1976 through 1980 you have accumulated approximately 3 years of vesting service. This is 7 years short of the 10 years required for the Deferred Vested Pension. Based on the foregoing you are not eligible for any type of pension from the Plan.

(Doc. 1-9).

         Defendant SIU is a voluntary maritime labor association that refers members and applicants to positions aboard ships and tugboats that are owned or operated by maritime companies who have collective bargaining agreements with the SIU. Plaintiff does not allege that SIU is or was the plan administrator for the Purchase Plan or Pension Plan.

         Plaintiff seeks a determination from this Court that he is owed additional benefits from the Purchase Plan and the Pension Plan.

         II. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). A claim is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. On a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true the factual allegations contained in the complaint and grants the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable ...


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