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Tootle v. Arinc, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Maryland

June 10, 2004, Decided

Civil Action No. CCB-03-1086

Opinion

 [*89] MEMORANDUM

Now pending before the court is a motion for class certification, submitted by the plaintiff, Dan C. Tootle. The defendants oppose this motion. The issues in this motion have been briefed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons stated below, the motion for class certification will be denied, and count V of the plaintiff's third amended complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

BACKGROUND

Dan Tootle was [**2]  employed by the defendant, ARINC, Inc. ("ARINC"), from September 16, 1996 through March 2, 2002, when he was terminated. The motion for class certification involves ARINC's conversion from a defined benefit pension plan to a cash balance pension plan. Prior to 1999, ARINC  [*90]  offered its employees a defined benefit plan, in which employees were entitled to a fixed monthly payment from an annuity upon their retirement. The annuity payment was calculated based on two variables-the employee's years of service and a percentage of his highest three consecutive years of salary within the ten years preceding retirement. Effective January 1, 1999, ARINC converted to a cash balance plan. Under this plan each employee maintains a hypothetical account, which receives annual credits based on two variables-a percentage of the employee's current salary and an interest credit at a guaranteed interest rate. 1 A retiree has the option of receiving an annuity or taking a lump sum payment.

 [**3]  All employees who were eligible to participate in the existing pension plan at the time of the conversion and who were transferred to the new plan received initial credits to their cash balance accounts equal to the lump sum value of the benefits they had accrued under the existing plan, as well as bonus "transition credits." 2 [**4]  A group of almost 300 employees were offered a choice between continuing to accrue benefits under the defined benefit plan, or switching and accruing future benefits under the new cash balance plan. 3 The defendants state that only employees who were "vested" participants under the existing pension plan (meaning they had at least five years of service under the plan), and who were either 55 years old or had 25 or more years of service under the plan, were eligible for this option. 4 (Defs.' Opp. Mem. at 6, 7, 18-20.) Tootle suggests that all employees over the age of 55 were offered the choice, regardless of their years of service under the plan. 5 (Pl.'s Reply at Ex. 1, Tootle Aff., at P 8-9.)

Tootle was offered the choice, and agreed to switch from the defined benefit plan to the cash balance plan. When he was terminated from ARINC in March 2002, Tootle elected to take a lump-sum distribution of $ 94,772.24 for his accrued benefits under the cash balance plan. An actuary for ARINC has calculated that if Tootle had remained under the defined benefit plan until his termination, he would have been entitled to a lump-sum equivalent of $ 80,438.42 on March 2, 2002. 6 (Defs.' Opp. Mem. at Ex. 2, Shaak Aff., at P 3-5.) The difference of over $ 14,000 in these two figures may be attributed in part to the transition credit of $ 11,466 which [**5]  Tootle received when he switched to the cash balance plan.

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222 F.R.D. 88 *; 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10629 **; 95 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 2005-540; 32 Employee Benefits Cas. (BNA) 2665

DAN C. TOOTLE v. ARINC, INC., et al.

Disposition:  [**1]  Plaintiff's motion to supplement his motion for class certification DENIED; Plaintiff's motion for class certification DENIED; Plaintiff's motion for court supervision of the notification to putative class members of opt-in rights and deadline DENIED without prejudice.

CORE TERMS

cash balance, employees, class certification, age discrimination, pension plan, misrepresentation, fiduciary, annuity, plans, defined benefit plan, benefits, detrimental reliance, conversion, terminated, accrued benefits, class member, calculated, omissions, fiduciary duty, proposed class, allegations, accrual, breach of fiduciary duty, commonality, credits, accrue, counts, salary, terms, individualized

Civil Procedure, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Prerequisites for Class Action, General Overview, Commonality, Numerosity, Typicality, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Reviewability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Labor & Employment Law, Age Discrimination, Remedies, Pensions & Benefits Law, ERISA, Justiciability, Exhaustion of Remedies, Administrative Remedies, Discrimination, Defenses, Bona Fide Benefit Plans, Business & Corporate Compliance, ADEA Enforcement, Civil Litigation, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies, Equal Protection, Age Discrimination, ERISA Pension Plan Qualification Requirements, Participation & Vesting, Benefit Accrual Requirements, Civil Litigation, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Scope & Definitions, Employee Benefit Plans, Cash Balance Plans, Pension Benefit Plans, Defined Benefit Plans, Welfare Benefit Plans, Participation & Vesting, Evidence, Discriminatory Employment Practices, Defined Contribution Plans, Retirement Plans, Qualified Retirement Plans, Nondiscrimination Rules, Tax Law, Tax Accounting, Qualified Retirement Plans, Governments, Fiduciaries, Fiduciaries, Contracts Law, Consideration, Enforcement of Promises, Contract Formation, Fiduciary Responsibilities, Class Actions, Plan Amendments