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Brown v. Boeing Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

June 4, 2019

ARLENE M. BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE BOEING COMPANY, EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS COMMITTEE, Defendants.

          MORGAN, LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP DEBORAH S. DAVIDSON HILLARY E. AUGUST OGLETREE DEAKINS NASH SMOAK & STEWART, P.C. LAURENCE A. SHAPERO, ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS THE BOEING COMPANY AND THE BOEING COMPANY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS COMMITTEE

          STIPULATED MOTION AND ORDER TO STAY CASE IN LIGHT OF REMAND TOUSLEY BRAIN STEPHENS PLLC CHASE C. ALVORD, KALEIGH N. POWELL, ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

          STIPULATED MOTION AND ORDER TO STAY CASE PENDING REMAND TO EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS COMMITTEE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         STIPULATED MOTION TO STAY CASE PENDING REMAND TO EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS COMMITTEE

         The Parties hereby file this stipulated motion pursuant to LCR 7(d)(1) and 10(g) to request that the Court stay this matter during the pendency of a remand of Plaintiff's claim for benefits to Defendant the Employee Benefit Plans Committee (“Committee”). In support of their Stipulated Motion, the Parties state as follows:

         1. Plaintiff is a former employee of The Boeing Company (“Boeing”) who claims that her entire pension from Boeing should be calculated under The Boeing Company Employee Retirement Plan (“BCERP”), a pension plan that Boeing sponsors. Plaintiff filed an internal claim to this effect, which the Committee denied on or around March 14, 2017. It did so on the basis of its finding that, because Plaintiff was in a non-union position on December 31, 1998, her pension benefits accrued through that date transferred to The Boeing Company Pension Value Plan (“PVP, ” and, with the BCERP, the “Plans”), on January 1, 1999.

         2. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pro se on September 8, 2017, challenging the denial of her claim for benefits and alleging various other claims for relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., and common law. (Dkt. # 1.)

         3. After completion of discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment on August 23, 2018. (Dkt. # 37.) The Court held oral argument on Defendants' motion on January 15, 2019, after which the Court appointed Plaintiff the undersigned pro bono counsel. (Dkt. # 60.)

         4. Plaintiff moved to reopen discovery on March 14, 2019. (Dkt. # 67.) In her motion to reopen discovery, Plaintiff argued that discovery should be reopened for the limited purpose of obtaining discovery related to Plaintiff's equitable claims and damages. (See generally id.) In so doing, Plaintiff presented arguments that had not been put before the Committee when Plaintiff filed her internal claim for benefits. (See Dkt. # 38-9, Plaintiff's November 7, 2016 Appeal to the Committee.)

         5. In light of these new arguments, the Committee, as Administrator and a named fiduciary of the Plans, has determined that it is appropriate for Plaintiff's administrative claim to be remanded to the Committee. On remand, the Committee will consider the additional arguments made by Plaintiff, in addition to any other arguments or evidence that Plaintiff or her counsel submit for consideration in accordance with the regulations governing the claim and appeals process under ERISA. See 29 C.F.R. § 2560.503-1.

         6. In connection with the remand, the Parties agree that Defendants will conduct a reasonable search for, and provide to Plaintiff, certain information that Plaintiff has requested. Namely, within 45 days of the Court staying this matter, Defendants shall either: (a) state that the following information does not exist or that they were not able to locate such information as the result of a reasonable search; or (b) provide Plaintiff with the following information:

a. Written communications issued collectively or made available to union-represented Boeing employees from January 1, 1998 to January 31, 1999 concerning or referring to any changes (or lack thereof) to pension or other retirement benefit plans (excluding communications Boeing had with its employees on an individual basis related to an employee's individual pension or other retirement benefit plan).
b. A statement regarding the manner used to identify intended recipients of PVP-related notices;
c. A statement regarding the retention policies, if any, related to records identifying individuals who are sent ...

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