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Amato v. Bernard

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

May 8, 1980

No. 78-1931

Opinion

 [*561]  The appellant, Michael R. Amato, brought this suit against the trustees and two employees of the Carpenters Pension Trust for Southern California (the Trust) on July 13, 1977. The amended complaint states two causes of action. The first, which seeks a declaration of the parties' rights and duties under the Trust's Pension Plan, alleges that Amato is entitled to a full pension from the Trust, and that although he has applied for this pension "on numerous occasions prior to filing the complaint . . . on each occasion he has been denied." Federal jurisdiction of this first claim is predicated on 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a), the civil enforcement provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security [**2]  Act of 1974 (ERISA or the Act), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.  The second cause of action seeks money damages for defendants' alleged bad faith in their dealings with Amato; federal jurisdiction here is claimed under the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction.

The defendants moved for summary judgment as to the first cause of action and to dismiss the second. These motions were both granted by the district court and judgment was entered accordingly. As to the first cause of action, the court held that Amato has made only one proper application for pension benefits, which was finally denied in November 1972; that jurisdiction under ERISA is not available to review actions by the trust finalized prior to September 2, 1974, the effective date of the Act; and that

(i)f plaintiff claims (as he does) that new facts and circumstances not heretofore presented to the Board of Trustees in 1971-1972 now entitle him to further consideration of his request for a pension, he  [*562]  is obligated to exhaust the administrative procedures set for(th) in the Pension Plan before seeking judicial relief. He has not done so, and this action is therefore premature.

Amato v. Bernard, No. CV 77-2583-RJK [**3]  (C.D.Cal., filed February 1, 1978). The district court dismissed the second cause of action on the ground that absent the first, no basis existed for the assertion of pendent jurisdiction over the second claim.

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618 F.2d 559 *; 1980 U.S. App. LEXIS 17764 **; 104 L.R.R.M. 2719; 2 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 2536; 54 A.L.R. Fed. 349

MICHAEL R. AMATO, Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. J. W. BERNARD; WARREN DRIVER; C. V. HOLDER; ROY SILVER; JOHN KUHL; PAUL MILLER, REX BOWLBY, SAM HEIL, GERALD STEDMAN, J. W. WOOD, individually and as Trustees, CARPENTERS PENSION TRUST FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA; VIVIAN CIERVO; ROGER LOPEZ, Defendants-Appellees.

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

CORE TERMS

pension, district court, exhausted, administrative remedy, courts, credits, pension plan, unfair labor practice, benefits, Appeals, claimants, required to exhaust, suits, aggrieved, pension benefits, effective date, sound policy, correspondence

Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Enforcement of Bargaining Agreements, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Remedies, General Overview, Pensions & Benefits Law, Civil Litigation, Remedies, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies, ERISA, Right to Organize, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Federal Common Law, Causes of Action, Suits to Recover Plan Benefits, ERISA Pension Plan Qualification Requirements, Child & Spouse Benefit Rules, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Claim Procedures, Governments, Fiduciaries, Fiduciaries, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion