Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BOYADJIAN v. CIGNA COS.

July 30, 1997

ROBERT BOYADJIAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CIGNA COMPANIES, AFIA WORLDWIDE INSURANCE, and CIGNA'S AFIA RETIREMENT PLAN ADMINISTRATOR, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARELL

 PARELL, District Judge

 This matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment *fn1" by defendants CIGNA Companies ("CIGNA"), AFIA Worldwide Insurance ("AFIA"), *fn2" and CIGNA's AFIA Retirement Plan Administrator (the "Administrator"); and by plaintiff pro se Robert Boyadjian ("Boyadjian"). For the reasons stated in this Opinion, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

 BACKGROUND3

 Plaintiff commenced this action on August 21, 1995, seeking relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461. Boyadjian alleges that he was employed by AFIA from June, 1971 through March, 1982 and is therefore eligible for benefits under the company's retirement plan (the "Plan"). (Compl. at 2.) Prior to filing suit, Boyadjian repeatedly contacted CIGNA in an effort to obtain information on his eligibility for retirement benefits. (See Mem. & Order dated July 17, 1996, at 2-6; Defs.' Ex. 1: Letter from Boyadjian to CIGNA (July 29, 1993); Defs.' Ex. 5: Letter from Boyadjian to Hildy Pepper, CIGNA Benefits Analyst (Oct. 26, 1993).) Although it sent Boyadjian a booklet summarizing the Plan after his second request, CIGNA repeatedly asserted that it had insufficient information to support Boyadjian's claim for benefits. (See Mem. & Order dated July 17, 1996, at 2; Defs.' Ex. 6: Letter from Marian Walter, CIGNA Senior Retirement Plans Specialist, to Boyadjian (Aug. 31, 1994) ("There is no information to indicate that you have a benefit due you. Since we have no records indicating that you are eligible for a CIGNA pension, we must assume that you did not meet the requirements necessary to obtain a vested pension benefit.").)

 By Memorandum and Order dated July 17, 1996, the Court denied without prejudice defendants' prior motion for summary judgment. (Mem. & Order dated July 17, 1996, at 12.) The Court determined that two genuine issues of material fact precluded the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendants: (1) whether Boyadjian was employed by AFIA; and (2) whether Boyadjian was employed by AFIA for the ten years required to become eligible for retirement benefits. (Id. at 8.) The Court also found that plaintiff's attempts to obtain retirement benefits satisfied ERISA's requirement that a plaintiff exhaust the remedies available under the benefit plan before filing suit. (Id. at 11.)

 After the Court denied defendants' initial motion for summary judgment, defendants determined that plaintiff was in fact a former AFIA employee and entitled to retirement benefits. By letter dated October 23, 1996, CIGNA provided Boyadjian with the details concerning his pension benefits, and informed him that he could elect to receive benefits beginning on February 1, 1998 at age 65, or retroactively to February 1, 1995 at age 62. (Defs.' Ex. 10: Letter from Cheryl Santos-Flynn, CIGNA Senior Retirement Plans Specialist, to Boyadjian (Oct. 23, 1996).)

 DISCUSSION

 A court shall enter summary judgment when the moving party demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Once the moving party has satisfied this initial burden, the opposing party must establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Township of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1013, 89 L. Ed. 2d 305, 106 S. Ct. 1190 (1986). The opposing party cannot rest on mere allegations; rather, it must present actual evidence that creates a genuine issue of material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986) (quotation omitted); Schoch v. First Fidelity Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990). Issues of fact are genuine only "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

 I. DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 In support of their motion for summary judgment, defendants argue that they have: (1) determined that plaintiff is eligible for benefits under the Plan; (2) calculated plaintiff's benefits under the Plan; (3) instructed plaintiff on the elections he must make concerning his benefits; and (4) provided plaintiff with a copy of the Plan. (Defs.' Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. at 4.) Thus, defendants assert, all of Boyadjian's claims have been rendered moot, and this Court must dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction. (Id. at 4, 9.)

 The federal judicial power extends only to "cases" or "controversies." U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. The "case or controversy" requirement demands that "a cause of action before a federal court present a 'justiciable' controversy, and 'no justiciable controversy is presented . . . when the question sought to be adjudicated has been mooted by subsequent developments." Lusardi v. Xerox Corp., 975 F.2d 964, 974 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 95, 20 L. Ed. 2d 947, 88 S. Ct. 1942 (1968)). Article III requires that a plaintiff's claim "be live not just when he first brings the suit but throughout the entire litigation, and once the controversy ceases to exist the court must dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction." Id. (citations omitted).

 Here, plaintiff has obtained the primary relief sought in the Complaint: namely, pension benefits under the Plan. As Boyadjian concedes, no justiciable controversy remains as to this claim. (See Pl.'s Letter Br. dated June 9, 1997 ("Reinstatement of benefits under the AFIA Plan has been rendered moot since October, 1996.").) Accordingly, because the controversy over Boyadjian's entitlement to retirement benefits has ceased to exist, the Court shall grant defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to this claim.

 II. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 In support of his motion for summary judgment, plaintiff argues that he is entitled to: (1) attorneys' fees and the costs of suit; (2) $ 100 per day from July 29, 1993 to September 3, 1996, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c), for defendants' failure to provide requested information; and (3) damages for emotional distress and punitive damages. (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. at 2.) Boyadjian maintains that these claims have not been rendered moot by defendants' determination that he is entitled to pension benefits. (Pl.'s Letter Br. dated June 9, 1997.) Defendants respond that "the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.