United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER United States District Judge.
MATTER having come before the Court upon defendants
Plasterers Local 8 Annuity Fund and Joseph Diehl's
("Defendants") motion to dismiss plaintiffs William
Erhart, Colleen Erhart, Thomas Cox, Arthur Crandell, Jason
Derby, Patrick Jones, Carl E. Montgomery, Charles Parks, John
F. Pearcy, Mark Riess, Matthew J. Schwegel, Cynthia Scipione,
and Jorge Vasquez's ("Plaintiffs") complaint.
For the reasons discussed below, the motion is GRANTED and
Plaintiffs' complaint is dismissed without prejudice.
allege that Defendants wrongfully denied them employment
benefits. (See Compl. at 2). Plaintiffs are all New
Jersey residents and participants in Plasterers Local 8
("Local 8") Annuity Fund ("Fund"),
currently administered by Cement Masons & Plasterers
Local Union No. 592 of Eastern Pennsylvania ("Local
592"). (Id. at 3-4). Defendant Fund is an
employee benefit fund and plan for the purposes of the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
("ERISA") Section 404(c). (Id. at 4); 29 CFR
§ 2550.404c-l(b)(1). Defendant Joseph Diehl
("Diehl") is the fund administrator. (Compl. at 4).
This Court has jurisdiction of this case pursuant to Section
502(e)(1) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1). (See
also 28 U.S.C. § 1331). Venue is appropriate in
this District pursuant to Section 502(e)(2) of ERISA, 29
U.S.C. § 1132(e)(2), because the breach allegedly
are, or were,  employees of Jersey Panel
Corporation/Baruffi ("Baruffi"). (Compl. at 5).
Baruffi was a party to a Collective Bargaining Agreement
("CBA") with Local 8. (Id.). Local 8
negotiated the CBA that covered Baruffi employees and the CBA
was renewed every three years. (Id.). In 2015, Local
8 merged with Local 592. (Id.). Local 592 took over
as the administrator of the Fund. (Compl. at 5-6). Baruffi
and Local 592 did not come to an agreement after the existing
CBA expired. (Id. at 6). Baruffi then signed a new
contract with Local 5 of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
("Local 5") in 2016. (Id.). This agreement
has different benefits and contribution levels and is
administered by a different plan administrator.
(Id.). Plaintiffs subsequently left Local 8 and
became members of Local 5. (Id.).
terms of the Local 8 Fund Plan Document ("Plan
Document") provide that if no contributions are made for
twelve months or more, a participant in the Fund is free to
request a distribution. (Compl. at 6). None of the Plaintiffs
have made contributions to the Fund for over twelve months.
(Id.). In a letter dated December 29, 2014, prior to
the merger of Local 8 and Local 592, BPI informed Mr.
Erhart of the forms he needed to fill out in order to make a
claim for benefits. (Id.).
about December 20, 2016, Mr. Erhart telephoned Diehl and
requested that Diehl provide him with instructions on how to
withdraw his Fund balance and requested that Diehl send him
the required forms. (Compl. at 7). Diehl told him that he
could not take out his account balance. (Id.). Mr.
Erhart told Diehl that he wanted his money out and that he
did not want to pay the $40 administrative fee.
(Id.). Diehl told Mr. Erhart that he could get Mr.
Erhart's money if Mr. Erhart returned to Local 8 (now
Local 592). (Id.). Mr. Erhart was not provided with
the plan documents, forms, or any other communications from
Diehl. (Id. at 6-7). Mr. Erhart did not contact
Diehl again. The other Plaintiffs never contacted Defendants.
now bring four claims: "wrongful denial of benefits
pursuant to ERISA Section 502(a)(1)(B)" (Count One);
"wrongful violation of the terms of the plan and the
provisions of ERISA pursuant to ERISA Section 503, 29 U.S.C.
[§] 1133" (Count Two); "claim for statutory
penalties against Joseph Diehl for failure to provide
requested information pursuant to ERISA § 502(a)(1)(A),
29 U.S.C. [§] 1132(a)(1)(A) and § 502(c)(1), 29
U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)" (Count Three); and "claim
against Joseph Diehl for interference pursuant to ERISA
§ 510 and 29 U.S.C. [§] 1140" (Count Four).
Fund Plan Document
Plan Document in dispute in this case was made effective on
May 1, 2014. Some of the operative terms and requirements
will be paraphrased below.
3.5 provides that a Fund participant who has performed no
services for a qualifying employer for at least twelve months
can withdraw his or her accumulated share upon application
7.1 states that all claims "shall be made in writing on
the appropriate form furnished to the applicant by the Fund
Office." Each claim made to the Claims Coordinator will
be approved or disapproved within 90 days. Section 7.2 sets
out the requirements for notice to the Claimant upon such a