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Barboza v. California Association of Professional Firefighters

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 5, 2013

DAVID BARBOZA, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on (1) the motion for attorneys' fees brought by defendants California Association of Professional Firefighters ("CAPF") and California Administration Insurance Services, Inc.'s ("CAISI") (ECF 116) (collectively "defendants"); (2) plaintiff David Barboza's motion for attorneys' fees, non-taxable costs and pre-judgment interest (ECF 114); (3) defendants' bill of costs (ECF 107); and (4) plaintiff's bill of costs (ECF 106). Based upon the submissions of the parties, and for the reasons set forth below, all the motions are denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brought this action under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. Plaintiff was a firefighter with the city of Tracy, and a participant in the long-term disability plan (the "Plan") offered by CAPF; CAISI administered the Plan. Plaintiff sought damages in the form of long-term disability ("LTD") payments plaintiff maintained defendants improperly withheld from him. Plaintiff also sought statutory penalties and injunctive relief. Defendants argued they granted plaintiff's claim for LTD benefits, but properly offset the amount of benefits due plaintiff in accordance with the express terms of the Plan. Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on April 11, 2012. (ECF 75-1.) On April 13, 2012, plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. (ECF 78.) Plaintiff also filed a motion for summary judgment on defendants' counterclaim on April 13, 2012. (ECF 77.)

In resolving the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, the court ruled as follows:

The parties' cross-motions for summary judgment are granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, defendant is ordered to distribute to plaintiff the remainder of the LTD benefits plaintiff is currently owed after offsetting for benefits to which he was entitled under Section 4850 of the California Labor Code and the $18, 000 workers' compensation settlement into which he entered.
Defendant's motion for summary judgment regarding plaintiff's earnings from self-employment is denied as to the $192, 705 of gross revenue from plaintiff's alpaca farm and $26, 443 in gross income from other self employment but granted as to the $1, 173 plaintiff received from employment with Sierra Entertainment and Sierra Northern Railways.
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to his request for statutory penalties is denied.
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to his request for injunctive relief is granted. Defendant is hereby ordered to revise the Plan's appeals procedure to comply with the Ninth Circuit's decision in Barboza v. Cal. Ass'n Prof'l Firefighters, 651 F.3d 1073 (9th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on defendants' counterclaim is granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, plaintiff's motion is granted as to the $192, 705 of gross revenue from plaintiff's alpaca farm and $26, 443 in gross income from other self employment but denied as to the $1, 173 plaintiff received from employment with Sierra Entertainment and Sierra Northern Railways.

Barboza v. Cal. Ass'n Prof'l Firefighters, 2012 WL 4490981 at *21-22 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2012).

II. ANALYSIS

Both plaintiff and defendants filed motions for attorneys' fees under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(1). Both parties respectively argue that they had sufficient success on the merits to justify an award of fees.

Defendants specifically contend that, "despite the potent relief prayed for by [p]laintiff - which included an exaggerated amount of LTD benefits and an Order removing [CAISI] as Plan fiduciary and barring it from any further responsibility for claims determinations under the Plan, ' - the Court merely ordered [d]efendants to do something that they had already done and awarded them $19, 173 in offsets." (ECF 116-1 at 5:4-8.) Defendants also argue the "relative merits of the parties' ...


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