United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER ON THE PARTIES' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 36, 37). Having
thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the
relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary
and hereby GRANTS Defendant Cenveo Corporation's motion
and DENIES Plaintiff Joyce Simons's motion for the
reasons explained herein.
Simons, Plaintiff's husband, was initially hired by
Defendant on December 10, 2001, as a regular, full-time
employee. (Dkt. No. 36-2 at 56, 58.) On April 30, 2010, Mr.
Simons retired and his company-provided basic life insurance
terminated. (Id. at 47-49, 66-67.) However, on May
7, 2014, Defendant offered Mr. Simons a part-time Premium
Maintenance position. (Dkt. No. 38-2 at 2.) Effective May 13,
2014, Mr. Simons was re-hired to work 30 hours per week or
less and was “[b]enefits ineligible.” (Dkt. No.
36-2 at 36.) Mr. Simons's last day of work was June 30,
2014. (Id. at 9, 33.) Mr. Simons went on an unpaid
non-Family and Medical Leave Act leave of absence from July 1
until July 24, 2014, (id. at 9-11), and passed away
on July 24, 2014, (id. at 74). It is undisputed that
between May 13, 2014, and July 24, 2014, Mr. Simons never
worked more than 25 hours per week. (Id. at 1-12,
September 16, 2014, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant,
indicating that she had received a Benefits Enrollment
Confirmation letter on June 30, 2014. (Id. at 69.)
The Benefits Enrollment Confirmation stated, “This
statement confirms your selected benefit options through the
2014 plan year.” (Id. at 72.) The letter
indicated that Mr. Simons had selected the “Basic
Life/AD&D” plan (the Plan), effective July 1, 2014.
the Plan, eligible employees were entitled to basic life
insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
(Dkt. No. 36-1.) An “employee” is defined by the
an active employee residing in the United States who is
employed by [Defendant] and is regularly scheduled to work on
at least a 35-hour-per-week-basis. Such employees of
companies and affiliates controlled by [Defendant] are
included. Temporary and seasonal employees are excluded.
(Id. at 17) (emphasis added). The Plan also sets
forth a “Schedule of Benefits” for hourly
employees, with the lowest number of hours worked listed as
35 hours per week. (Id. at 4.)
response to Plaintiff's claim to benefits under the Plan,
Defendant determined that Plaintiff was not entitled to life
insurance benefits because Mr. Simons worked less than 35
hours per week. (Dkt. No. 36-2 at 84, 112.) As such,
Defendant denied Plaintiff's claim for coverage under the
brought this action in Pierce County Superior Court, (Dkt.
No. 1-1), and Defendant removed the action to this Court,
(Dkt. No. 1). Plaintiff alleges Defendant violated §
1132(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001, et seq., by
denying Plaintiff life insurance benefits. (Dkt. No. 15.)
Both parties filed motions for summary
judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 36, 37.)
Standards of Review
court shall grant summary judgment if 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). In making such a determination, the Court
must view the facts and justifiable inferences to be drawn
there-from in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is
properly made and supported, the opposing party “must
come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the
case, and a dispute about a material fact is genuine if there
is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248-49. Conclusory, non-specific statements in affidavits
are not sufficient, and “missing facts” will not
be “presumed.” Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife
Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990). Ultimately,
summary judgment is appropriate against a party who
“fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986).
parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment,
“[e]ach motion must be considered on its own
merits.” Fair Hous. Council of Riverside Cnty.,
Inc. v. Riverside Two, 249 F.3d 1132, 1135-36 (9th Cir.
2001). However, in this case, the arguments set forth in the
parties' summary judgment motions are the same as those
set forth in their responses to ...