9. By letter dated September 14, 1977, the Local Board acknowledged receipt of plaintiff's letter of August 30, 1977, and forwarded to him a copy of standard "Pen 111, Notice of Appeal" form.
10. The Penn 111 appeal form neither apprised plaintiff of the factual basis of the Local Board's termination action nor of the manner or procedure by which he could challenge the Board's decision.
11. On September 22, 1977, plaintiff completed and returned the appeal form requesting an appeal to challenge the Local Board's action.
12. On October 12, 1977, the Local Board denied plaintiff's appeal without giving him an opportunity to appear, present evidence, or confront the allegations considered against him. The denial of benefits was reaffirmed by the Local Board based upon a review of the evidence which had been presented at its earlier meeting on August 10, 1977.
13. On or about October 12, 1977, the Local Board notified plaintiff of his right to appeal its decision to the National Board of Administration ("National Board") by signing and dating another Penn 111 form. Again, that form did not apprise plaintiff of any right or opportunity to present or refute evidence before the National Board.
14. On or about October 21, 1977, the plaintiff filed a formal appeal of the decision of The Local Board to the National Board in which he denied that he was or had been gainfully employed on a regular basis.
15. On December 20, 1977, the National Board discussed and ruled upon plaintiff's case, denying his appeal. Plaintiff was not present at this meeting, nor was he given the opportunity to present evidence, either in writing or in person, in response to the factual basis for termination of benefits.
16. On January 11, 1978, based upon information gathered through its representatives on the Local Board, the Budd Company recommended plaintiff for discharge because of his gainful employment while receiving disability benefits.
17. On January 18, 1978, a Budd Company disciplinary hearing was held on the discharge action but was continued at the request of plaintiff's union representative. Plaintiff never conceded to the company that he was gainfully employed.
18. Based upon information gathered through its representatives on the Local Board, the grievance pertaining to the discharge was not processed by the Union. Therefore, plaintiff never learned through the labor contract grievance machinery the specific allegations of fact to support either his termination from employment or his termination of disability benefits.
The Retirement Plan is an employee benefit plan within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Plaintiff charges that he suffered a denial of procedural due process at the Local and National Board levels when those boards initially denied and affirmed the termination of his disability benefits.
The ERISA requirements for a benefit claims procedure are set forth in 29 U.S.C. § 1133. This section provides that
every employee benefit plan shall: (1) provide adequate notice in writing to any participant or beneficiary whose claim for benefits under the plan has been denied, setting forth the specific reasons for such denial, written in a manner calculated to be understood by the participant, and (2) afford a reasonable opportunity to any participant whose claim for benefits has been denied for a full and fair review by the appropriate named fiduciary of the decision denying the claim.