UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
December 3, 2010
CHARLES YIP; SILVIA QUINTERO;
AGUSTIN SOTO; ANA IBARRA; GILBERTO GALLARDO; JOSE; SANCHEZ; MARCO IBARRA; NANCY BROWNING; RICARDO QUINTERO; VALENTE GODINA; AND THE CLASS THEY SEEK TO REPRESENT, PLAINTIFFS,
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE SAN DIEGO UNITEHERE PENSION FUND; ALLIED ADMINISTRATORS; JEFF EACHTEL; AND DOES 1 TO 50, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Bernard G. Skomal U.S. Magistrate Judge United States District Court
ORDER ON JOINT MOTION; ALLOWING DISCOVERY TO COMMENCE [Doc. No. 90.]
Following the Case Management Conference the Court entertained further briefing from the parties regarding their respective positions on the permissible scope of discovery outside of the Administrative Record. Although the parties agree that an abuse of discretion standard should apply in this case, they do not agree on whether any extra-record discovery or evidence will be permitted. Because Plaintiffs allege that the plan administrators failed to adhere to the procedural dictates of ERISA as well as the plan, Plaintiffs are essentially alleging that the administrators failed to exercise discretion. In such situations, the court may determine that evidence beyond that contained in the administrative record is necessary to determine whether "procedural irregularities are so substantial as to alter the standard of review." See Abatie v. Alta Health & Life Ins. Co., 458 F.3d 955, 971 (9th Cir. 2006). Furthermore, if the district court ultimately determines that procedural irregularities affected the administrative review, the court may decide to take additional evidence. Accordingly, Plaintiffs must be permitted to propound narrowly tailored discovery so that the court can ultimately decide what, if any, additional evidence will be considered. However, "such discovery must be narrowly tailored and cannot be a fishing expedition." Groom v. Standard Ins. Co., 492 F. Supp.2d 1202, 1205 (C.D. Cal. 2007). Defendants will be allowed to object to the requests at the appropriate time.
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