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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
February 11, 2004, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California ; August 24, 2004, Filed
[*900] BRUNETTI, Circuit Judge:
Eijinio Banuelos ("Banuelos") filed the underlying complaint against the Construction Laborers' Pension Trust for Southern California ("the Trust"), seeking to establish his right to receive a pension. The district court denied the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, relying on evidence that was not part of the administrative record to conclude that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Trust had adopted five-year vesting rules applicable to Banuelos. After a bench trial, the district court held that Banuelos was not entitled to five-year vesting.
Banuelos appeals the district court's denial of his summary judgment motion, arguing that the district court erred by considering evidence outside the administrative [**2] record. We reverse the denial of Banuelos's motion for summary judgment, vacate the subsequent judgment, and remand to the district court with instructions to remand to the plan administrator to calculate Banuelos's pension.
FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
A. The Pension Plan
The Trust is an express trust established in 1962. Pursuant to the terms of various collective bargaining agreements between the Southern California District Council of Laborers and numerous employers' associations, the Trust created and maintained a pension plan. The plan is a multi-employer defined benefit pension plan within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended ("ERISA").
Banuelos's right to a pension is governed by the provisions of the pension plan. Banuelos is a retired construction laborer who worked within the area covered by the Trust from 1966 to 1991. He retired from the construction field in 1992 and on January 23, 1995, he turned 65.
When Banuelos retired, the pension plan provided for three different forms of regular pension. Plan One provided for those people who have completed at least 10 years of credited service; Plan Two for those [**3] who completed at least 15 years of credited service; and Plan Three for those who completed at least 25 years of credited service. The plan sets forth the applicable "break in service" rules and specifies how credits are to be calculated. A worker is credited with one year of service for each year in which he was employed more than 1000 hours. A "break in service" occurs in each calendar year during which the worker completed fewer than 501 hours of service. The undisputed facts show that Banuelos's years of credited service total no fewer than six years and no more than seven years under any applicable "break in service" rules.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
382 F.3d 897 *; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 17946 **; 33 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 1641
EIJINIO BANUELOS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CONSTRUCTION LABORERS' TRUST FUNDS FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, Defendant-Appellee.
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Constr. Laborers Pension Trust v. Banuelos, 545 U.S. 1127, 125 S. Ct. 2936, 162 L. Ed. 2d 866, 2005 U.S. LEXIS 4869 (2005)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CV-00-05630-RJK. Robert J. Kelleher, Senior Judge, Presiding.
Banuelos v. Constr. Laborers Trust Funds, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26285 (C.D. Cal., Sept. 24, 2001)
Disposition: District court's denial of Banuelos's summary judgment motion reversed; subsequent judgment vacated. Case remanded to district court with instructions to remand to the plan administrator to calculate Banuelos's pension.
district court, pension, administrative record, vesting, summary judgment motion, plan administrator, pension plan, credited service, hear evidence, break in, merits, denial of summary judgment, summary judgment, five-year, matter of law, appealing, benefits, retired
Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, General Overview, Appealability, Judgments, Motions for Summary Judgment, Preclusion of Judgments, Res Judicata, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Questions of Law, Pensions & Benefits Law, ERISA, Civil Litigation, Remand & Remittitur, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, De Novo Standard of Review, Administrative Record, De Novo Review, Handling of Claims, Scope of Review, Conflict of Interest Analysis, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Ambiguities & Contra Proferentem, Business & Corporate Compliance, ERISA Pension Plan Qualification Requirements, Participation & Vesting