United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JENNIFER L. BROWN, Plaintiff,
RAWLINGS FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC AETNA, INC. AND WILLIAM W. BACKUS HOSPITAL, Defendants.
RULING ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jennifer L. Brown, sued Defendants, The Rawlings Company, LLC
(improperly named Rawlings Financial Services, LLC in the
state court action, hereinafter “Rawlings”),
Aetna, Inc. and William W. Backus Hospital, alleging
violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1331 et
seq. Brown's Complaint has three counts, each of
them alleging an identical violation of ERISA's
disclosure requirement, 29 U.S.C. 1132(c), on the part of one
of the three defendants. Compl. Counts 1-3, ¶¶1-16,
ECF No. 1-1.
Brown initially brought her case in Connecticut Superior
Court and Rawlings removed the case to this Court. All of the
defendants then filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
Brown is a participant in the Benefit Plan (the
“Plan”), which provides healthcare benefits to
employees of Backus Hospital. Compl., Ct. 1, ¶4. In
2012, Ms. Brown filed a lawsuit for injuries arising out of a
motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2010. Compl. Cts. 1-
3, ¶3. After Ms. Brown initiated this lawsuit, Rawlings
sent Ms. Brown a notice of subrogation interest/health
insurance lien for payment of certain medical expenses
relating to the 2010 accident. Id. at
Brown, through her counsel, sent a request to Rawlings for
Plan information on Dec. 13, 2012. Id. at ¶5.
Ms. Brown sent two additional requests for Plan information
to Rawlings, on June 13, 2013 and July 8, 2014. Id.
at ¶¶5-6. On January 15, 2015, Rawlings responded
in part to Ms. Brown's request. Id. at
¶¶10-11. Rawlings provided a complete copy of the
Plan documents on February 17, 2015. Id.
Brown alleges that Rawlings violated ERISA's disclosure
requirement, which makes any “plan administrator”
who fails or refuses to respond to a request from plan
participants or beneficiaries about their health plan
personally liable for statutory damages. 29 U.S.C. §
1132(c)(1); Compl. Ct. 1, ¶16. She claims that the
remaining defendants are similarly liable because Rawlings
was acting as an agent, servant or employee of these
defendants. Id. at Cts. 1-3, ¶5.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is facially plausible if
“the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.
Although “detailed factual allegations” are not
required, a complaint must offer more than “labels and
conclusions, ” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” or “naked
assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual
enhancement.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 557 (2007).
Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, In re NYSE Specialists
Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d 89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007), and
generally may consider only “the facts as asserted
within the four corners of the complaint, the documents
attached to the complaint as exhibits, and any documents
incorporated in the complaint by reference.”
McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d
184, 191 (2d Cir. 2007).
gives benefit plan participants a cause of action for failure
to respond to requests for information, but does not provide
a statute of limitations for such claims. 29 U.S.C §
1132(a)(1)(A); Harless v. Research Inst. of Am., 1
F.Supp.2d 235, 239 (S.D.N.Y. 1998). For this reason, the
Court should apply the most analogous state statute of
limitations from the state in which the court sits. Miles
v. New York State Teamsters Conference, 698 F.2d 593,
598 (2d Cir. 1983) (“As ERISA does not prescribe a
limitations period for actions under §1132, the
controlling limitations period is that specified in the most
nearly analogous state limitations statute”). The
parties disagree about the appropriate state statute of
limitations that the Court should apply in this case.
Brown seeks penalties against the Plan's Administrator
under ERISA § 502(c) (“Section 502(c)”), 29
U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1), which provides for penalties of up
to $110 per day to punish plan administrators for failing to
comply with a plan participant's request for certain plan
documents within thirty days. ...