United States District Court, C.D. California
DR. SUJATA VYAS, an individual, Plaintiff,
BHASKAR VYAS, an individual; NANCY BUNN, an individual; LOCKHEED MARTIN PENSION PLAN AND CHAMBERS QDRO CONSULTING SERVICES, LLC; CHARLES SCHWAB AND SCHWAB RETIREMENT PLAN SERVICES COMPANY AS PLAN ADMINISTRATOR; COMMITTEE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP SCPMG PLAN ADMINISTRATOR; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER RE: DEFENDANT BHASKAR VYAS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
HONORABLE RONALD S.W. LEW, Senior U.S. District Judge
before the Court is Defendant Bhaskar Vyas'
(“Defendant Vyas”) Motion for Summary Judgment
(“Motion”) . Having reviewed all papers
submitted pertaining to this Motion, the Court NOW
FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: the Court
GRANTS Defendant Vyas' Motion.
is a California resident who married Defendant Vyas in 1981.
Second Am. Compl. (“SAC”) ¶ 21, ECF No. 63.
During the couple's marriage, from October 1985 to
February 1992, Defendant Vyas worked for LTV Aerospace &
Defense Corporation. Decl. of Bhaskar Vyas (“Bhaskar
Decl.”) ¶ 10, ECF No. 109-2. Defendant Vyas, at
some point during this time period, was enrolled in the
Lockheed Martin Pension Plan (“Lockheed Plan”) at
issue in this Action, although he claims to not have known
about the Lockheed Plan or his enrollment in it. See
couple separated in 2003, and in 2009, they obtained a
Judgment of Dissolution from the Orange County Superior Court
finalizing their divorce. First Am. Compl.
(“FAC”), Ex. A, ECF No. 19. Following the Orange
County Superior Court entering the Judgment of Dissolution in
2009, court-appointed attorney Defendant Nancy Bunn began
drafting Qualified Domestic Relations Orders
(“QDROs”) regarding the retirement plans to which
the couple contributed during the marriage. SAC ¶ 7. It
was during this time that Plaintiff moved back into the
couple's home and discovered the existence of the
Lockheed Plan and the alleged undisclosed Rollover IRAs.
Id. ¶ 22. Defendant Vyas claims Plaintiff
became aware of the Lockheed Plan when Plaintiff opened a
letter concerning the Lockheed Plan dated August 18, 2014,
which Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation
(“LMC”) sent to the couple's home. Bhaskar
Decl. ¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Vyas
concealed the Lockheed Plan and Rollover IRAs to which he
contributed during the marriage. SAC ¶ 14.
Vyas maintains that he was not aware of the existence of the
Lockheed Plan until July 2015. Bhaskar Decl. ¶ 9. At no
point have Plaintiff or Defendant Vyas presented the Lockheed
Plan or the alleged undisclosed Rollover IRAs to any state
court. SAC ¶ 22.
claims that Defendant Vyas gained discretionary control of
the Lockheed Plan in August 2014 when he became eligible to
take a lump sum distribution or an annuity. Id.
¶ 5. Plaintiff contends that this qualifies Defendant
Vyas as a fiduciary with respect to the Lockheed Plan under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”). Id. ¶ 41. In addition,
Plaintiff argues that Defendant Vyas is a fiduciary of any
and all undisclosed Rollover IRAs. Id. ¶ 44.
on December 21, 2015, the Orange County Family Court
finalized the QDROs, which did not mention the Lockheed Plan
or Rollover IRAs. Id. ¶ 14. The Lockheed Plan
does not appear on any QDRO because, as Plaintiff alleges,
Defendant Vyas concealed the Lockheed Plan from Plaintiff
throughout all court-mandated disclosures and proceedings.
Id. ¶ 15.
filed her Complaint on December 28, 2015 against her
ex-husband, Defendant Vyas, the drafter of the QDROs,
Defendant Nancy Bunn, and the administrators of a number of
the couple's retirement accounts .The Complaint
alleged four causes of action against Defendant Vyas, two
claims under ERISA for breach of fiduciary duty, a claim
seeking an accounting of assets, and a claim for breach of
Defendant Vyas' filing of his Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint , Plaintiff filed her FAC on
April 5, 2016 . The FAC included the same four causes of
action against Defendant Vyas. See FAC at
68:4-72:16. Defendant Vyas then filed a Motion to Dismiss the
FAC on April 19, 2016 . On July 28, 2016, the Court
issued an Order granting in part and denying in part
Defendant Vyas' Motion to Dismiss . While the Court
dismissed Plaintiff's securities fraud claim against
Defendant Vyas, the Court declined to dismiss Plaintiff's
ERISA claims against Defendant Vyas because the determination
of whether Plaintiff was a “beneficiary” of any
ERISA account was a merit-based determination not
appropriately adjudicated in a Motion to Dismiss.
See Order re Def. Vyas' Mot. to Dismiss FAC at
10:10-18, ECF No. 36. Defendant Vyas filed his Answer to the
FAC on August 11, 2016 . Defendant Chambers QDRO
Consulting Services, LLC (“Defendant Chambers”)
filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's FAC on August 22,
the Court's grant of Defendant Chambers' Motion to
Dismiss with leave to amend , Plaintiff filed her SAC on
November 24, 2016 . The SAC included the securities claim
against Defendant Vyas that the Court had dismissed in its
July 28, 2016 Order. SAC at 83:14-21. On January 27, 2017,
Defendant Vyas filed a Motion to Strike the securities claim
that the Court had previously dismissed . The Court
granted Defendant Vyas' Motion to Strike on May 8, 2017
. Defendant Vyas then filed his Answer to
the SAC on May 22, 2017 .
30, 2017, Defendant Vyas filed the instant Motion as to All
Claims Alleged Against Defendant Vyas in the SAC .
Plaintiff filed her Opposition to the Motion on July 18, 2017
. Defendant Vyas filed his Reply on July 25, 2017 .
FINDINGS OF FACT
Plaintiff and Defendant Vyas were married on December 10,
1981. Def.'s Stmt of Undisputed Facts (“Defendant
Vyas' SUF”) ¶ 1, ECF No. 109-1; Pl.'s
Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 1, ECF No. 113-2.
Orange County Superior Court issued a Judgment of Dissolution
on December 10, 2009 addressing the rights and obligations of
the parties in relation to one another. Defendant Vyas'
SUF ¶ 3; Pl.'s Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶
3; Def.'s Req. for Judicial Notice (“RJN”),
Ex. 1, ECF No. 110-1.
Judgment of Dissolution specifically addresses and
adjudicates the rights of the parties in and to six
retirement accounts/plans. Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 4;
Pl.'s Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 4; RJN, Ex. 1
Judgment of Dissolution does not mention the Lockheed Plan.
Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 5; Pl.'s Response to Def.
Vyas' SUF ¶ 5; RJN, Ex. 1.
Judgment of Dissolution does not mention any Rollover IRAs.
Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 6; Pl.'s Response to Def.
Vyas' SUF ¶ 6; RJN, Ex. 1.
Orange County Family Court has issued five QDROs addressing
the retirement accounts/plans of the parties addressed in the
Judgment of Dissolution. Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 7;
Pl.'s Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 7; RJN, Exs.
of the five QDRO Orders the Orange County Family Court issued
mention the Lockheed Plan. Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 8;
Pl.'s Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 8; RJN, Exs.
of the five QDRO Orders the Orange County Family Court issued
mention any Rollover IRAs. Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 9;
Pl.'s Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 9; RJN, Exs.
Judgment of Dissolution states that the Orange County Family
Court retains jurisdiction over “after-discovered
property.” Defendant Vyas' SUF ¶ 14; Pl.'s
Response to Def. Vyas' SUF ¶ 14; RJN, Ex. 1.
Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 56 states that a “court
shall grant summary judgment” when the movant
“shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
“material” for purposes of summary judgment if it
might affect the outcome of the suit, and a “genuine
issue” exists if the evidence is such that a reasonable
fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The evidence, and any inferences based on underlying
facts, must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
opposing party. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. v. MCA,
Inc., 715 F.2d 1327, 1329 (9th Cir. 1983). In ruling on
a motion for summary judgment, the court's function is
not to weigh the evidence, but only to determine if a genuine
issue of material fact exists. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
Rule 56, the party moving for summary judgment has the
initial burden to show “no genuine dispute as to any
material fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Nissan Fire
& Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099,
1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). The burden then shifts to the
non-moving party to produce admissible evidence showing a
triable issue of fact. Nissan Fire & Marine
Ins., 210 F.3d at 1102-03; see Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). Summary judgment “is appropriate when the
plaintiff fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to [her] case, and on which
[she] will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Cleveland v. Policy Mgmt. Sys. Corp., 526 U.S. 795,
805-06 (1999); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
standard for a motion for summary judgment “provides
that the mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise
properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no genuine issues of
material fact.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at