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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
March 26, 2021, Decided; March 26, 2021, Filed
Civil Action No. CCB-20-1815
Now pending in this civil rights and employment action is defendant Catholic Relief Services ("CRS")'s motion to dismiss (ECF 13) the plaintiff's complaint. The motion is fully briefed and no oral argument is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
The plaintiff is a gay cisgender male and is legally married to a man. (ECF 1, Compl. ¶¶ 7, 17). In mid-2016, a recruiter from CRS contacted the plaintiff regarding a job opportunity with CRS. Plaintiff interviewed for a position, and the same recruiter contacted the plaintiff several days after the interview to offer the plaintiff a full-time position. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13). The position offered to the plaintiff involved providing technical and [*2] business support for and management of a CRS information management platform. (Id. ¶ 13).1 Along with the offer, the recruiter provided the plaintiff with documents detailing his proposed employment benefits, which included an Aetna Health Insurance Plan Summary entitled "Group Insurance Plan of Benefits for Catholic Relief Services." (Id. ¶ 14). That document stated that "dependents" were covered under CRS's group insurance plan and defined "dependent" as "wife or husband" (with no mention of the sex or gender identity of the primary insured) and "children to age 26[,] regardless of student status." (Id. ¶ 16). The CRS recruiter and the plaintiff subsequently had a telephone conversation in which the plaintiff asked the recruiter if his husband, a man, would be covered by CRS's spousal insurance benefits. The recruiter told the plaintiff, "All dependents are covered." (Id. ¶18).
The plaintiff accepted CRS's offer of employment, and he and his family relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. (Id. ¶ 19). After he accepted the offer, the plaintiff received from CRS an additional insurance document titled "Benefit Plan: What Your Plan Covers and How Benefits are Paid" (hereinafter "Benefit Plan"). [*3] (Id. ¶ 20; ECF 1-5, Ex. 1 to Compl.). The title page of the Benefit Plan states that it was "Prepared Exclusively for Catholic Relief Services." (ECF 1-5, Ex. 1 to Compl.). The Benefit Plan states that regular full-time employees of CRS who have elected coverage under the Plan "may enroll the following dependents: — Your Spouse. — Your dependent children." (Id. at 2). The Benefit Plan goes on to state that "Aetna will rely upon your employer to determine whether or not a person meets the definition of a dependent for coverage under this Plan. This determination will be conclusive and binding upon all persons for the purposes of this Plan." (Id.) (emphasis added). The Benefit Plan also describes when coverage ends for dependents. Among other reasons, "[c]overage for [the employee's] dependents will end if . . . [the employee's] dependent is no longer eligible for coverage. Coverage ends at the end of the calendar month when [the] dependent does not meet the plan's definition of a dependent[.]" (Id. at 58). Nothing in the Benefit Plan promises a spouse will be eligible for dependent coverage; rather the Benefit Plan states it relies on CRS to determine whether a person meets the definition of a dependent. [*4] (Id. at 2).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58258 *; 2021 WL 1164227
JOHN DOE v. CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVS.
Prior History: Doe v. Catholic Relief Servs., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142069, 2020 WL 4582711 (D. Md., Aug. 10, 2020)
benefits, coverage, promise, terminated, spousal, Counts, sex, sex discrimination, sexual orientation, employees, detrimental reliance, at-will, negligent misrepresentation, allegations, spouses, exemption, religious, eligible, motion to dismiss, Pay Act, recruiter, duration, senior, insurance coverage, same-sex, binding, damages, gender, prospective employee, plaintiff's claim