United States District Court, N.D. California
For Ruben Sizemore, Plaintiff: Daniel Mark Feinberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis Feinberg Lee Renaker & Jackson, P.C., Oakland, CA; Kirsten Gibney Scott, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, Oakland, CA.
For Pacific Gas & Electric Retirement Plan, Employee Benefit Committee of the Pacific Gas & Electric Retirement Plan, Defendants: Joshua M. Henderson, Michelle Marie Scannell, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, San Francisco, CA; Kathleen Cahill Slaught, LEAD ATTORNEY, Seyfarth Shaw, San Francisco, CA.
WILLIAM ALSUP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
Plaintiff filed an ERISA action seeking clarification of whether his pension plan accrued time during a six-year period. Defendants moved to dismiss because grievance procedures under the Labor Management Relations Act allegedly supersedes plaintiff's ERISA action. For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion is Denied.
Plaintiff Ruben Sizemore began working in a Pacific Gas & Electric power plant starting in early January 1983 (Compl. ¶ 8). He initially worked as a contract employee. He was laid off for two short periods in mid-1987 and early 1989 but has been rehired and continues to work there ( ibid. ). In 1993, the Engineers and Scientists of California, MEBA (AFL-CIO) union filed a grievance with PG& E contending that long-term contract workers were actually employees ( id. ¶ 9). The grievance resulted in Letter Agreement 93-94, which reclassified plaintiff as an " employee" ( id. ¶ ¶ 9-11). The Letter Agreement listed plaintiff's employee start date as May 15, 1989 ( id. ¶ 11). Under the heading, " Wages, Benefits, Service, and Status," the Letter Agreement expressly calculated employment start dates as the " latest date of hire as an agency employee continuously performing work" at the plant (Dkt. No. 10-1 at 3). This calculation applied to " [s]ervice and status as defined in Sections 13.3 and 13.5" ( ibid. ). Presumably, those sections refer to a collective bargaining agreement.
Later in 2006, the union filed a grievance on plaintiff's behalf regarding his employee start date set in the Letter Agreement (Compl. ¶ ¶ 29-30). No agreement was reached, and the union withdrew the grievance ( id. ¶ 30). Plaintiff also filed a grievance under the pension plan's grievance procedures in 2010 ( id. ¶ ¶ 31-37).
Plaintiff filed this action in January 2013 to clarify his right to future benefits under PG& E's pension plan pursuant to ERISA 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(1)(B) (Compl. 7). Plaintiff alleges that he has accrued time on his pension beginning in early 1983 through 1988, that is, the time period before his start date as determined in the 1993 proceeding ( id. ¶ 38). He contends he was a common law employee of PG& E during this period and because the pension plan provides for a separate treatment of his layoff periods ( id. ¶ ¶ 12, 14).
Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cognizable legal theory because plaintiff's ERISA claim is superseded by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (" LMRA" ), 29 U.S.C. 185 (Br. 2).
Federal Rule of Evidence 201 allows a court to take judicial notice of a fact " not subject to ...