Curtis F. Lee, Plaintiff-Appellant,
ING Groep, N. V., a Dutch entity; Reliastar Life Insurance Company, a Minnesota corporation; ING Employee Benefits Disability Management Services, a Minnesota corporation; ING North America Insurance Corporation, a Delaware corporation; ING Investment Management, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; Kimberly Shattuck; General RE Corporation, a Delaware corporation, Defendants-Appellees. Curtis F. Lee, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ING North America Insurance Corporation, a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellant, and General RE Corporation, a Delaware corporation; ING Groep, N.V., a Dutch entity; Reliastar Life Insurance Company, a Minnesota corporation; ING Employee Benefits Disability Management Services, a Minnesota corporation; ING Investment Management, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; Kimberly Shattuck, Defendants.
and Submitted May 9, 2016 San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court for the District of
Arizona Roslyn O. Silver, Senior District Judge, Presiding
D.C. No. 2:12-cv-00042-ROS
A. Connelly (argued) and Leo R. Beus, Beus Gilbert PLLC,
Phoenix, Arizona, for Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
Gregory A. Bromen (argued) and William D. Hittler, Nilan
Johnson Lewis PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ann-Martha Andrews
and Lawrence A. Kasten, Lewis & Roca LLP, Phoenix,
Arizona; for Defendant-Appellees
ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, ING Investment Management,
LLC, and Kimberley Shattuck, and
Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant ING North America
P. Schiffer (argued), Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, New York,
New York; Aaron A. Boschee, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP,
Denver, Colorado; for Defendant-Appellee General Re Life
Before: Jerome Farris, Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, and
Morgan Christen, Circuit Judges.
Retirement Income Security Act
panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district
court's summary judgment in favor of the defendants in an
action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act,
vacated an award of statutory penalties in favor of the
plaintiff, and remanded.
in part, the panel held that the district court properly
imposed a penalty under 29 US.C. § 1132(c)(1) on the
ERISA plan administrator for failing to produce the Plan
Document within 30 days of the plaintiff's request.
panel reversed the district court's decision to impose a
penalty based on the plan administrator's failure to
timely produce emails. Following other circuits, the panel
held that 29 C.F.R. § 2560.503-1(h)(2)(iii) imposes
requirements on benefits plans, not plan administrators.
Accordingly, a failure to comply with this regulation cannot
give rise to a penalty under § 1132(c)(1), which applies
only to documents that plan administrators are required to
produce. The panel concluded that it was not bound by dicta
in Sgro v. Danone Waters of N. Am., Inc., 532 F.3d
940 (9th Cir. 2008). The panel remanded for the district
court to assess a penalty based solely on the failure to
timely produce the Plan Document.
OPINION FARRIS, Senior Circuit Judge
Lee is a former employee of ING Investment Management, LLC.
Through his employment, Lee participated in a long term
disability plan that is governed by the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act of 1974. See 29 U.S.C. §
1001 et seq. ING North America Insurance Corporation
was the plan administrator for this long term disability
plan. Lee applied for long term disability benefits under the
plan, which he received for a while, but then his benefits
were terminated. Lee filed a lawsuit against ING Investment
Management, ING North America, and others, seeking inter
alia, statutory penalties against ING North America for
failing to timely produce documents he had requested.
See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1). The district court
granted summary judgment to Lee on this claim and imposed a
penalty of $27, 475. Lee appealed other ...