insure that health care facilities be paid. While Plaintiff may indeed be entitled to a "benefit" through operation of the plan -- i.e., payment for services -- we conclude that the term as employed in the statute does not permit of a construction broad enough to include a provider of health services to participants. See, Hibernia Bank v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 411 F. Supp. 478 (N.D. Cal. 1976); National Bank of North America v. Local 553 Pension Fund, 463 F. Supp. 636 (E.D. N.Y. 1978).
Plaintiff argues that in any event it is a "party in interest" as defined in 29 USC § 1002(14)(B) as a "person providing services to the plan." While this may well be true, it has no bearing on the definition of beneficiary discussed above, nor will it alone support jurisdiction under 29 USC § 1132(a)(1)(B). Moreover, the existence of this separate category which consists of care providers indicates a distinction between it and the category "beneficiary."
We conclude therefore that Plaintiff is neither a "participant" nor "beneficiary" as defined in the statute, and is not entitled to bring suit under ERISA to recover payment for health services.
Plaintiff has requested that if the ERISA claim is dismissed, it be without prejudice to its renewal upon joinder of the individual employee-patients as plaintiffs. However, no amount of joinder can cure Plaintiff's own inability to meet the statutory requirement that it be either a participant or beneficiary. The individual patients may state a claim for their benefits, but their presence in the suit cannot alter Plaintiff's own status. We will therefore dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's ERISA claim.
Plaintiff has also sought to state a claim for "detrimental reliance," alleging that Defendants paid for certain treatment, inducing Plaintiff to believe it would be paid for similar additional care. We do not address the question of whether Plaintiff has properly stated a claim for detrimental reliance because we conclude that this court has no jurisdiction over the claim. This is not a federal cause of action, does not arise under ERISA, and we may not exercise pendent jurisdiction because there is no jurisdiction over Plaintiff's abortive ERISA claim. This claim will therefore be dismissed without prejudice to its renewal in a proper forum.
For the reasons stated above, Plaintiff's claim under 29 USC § 1132 is dismissed with prejudice, and Plaintiff's claim for detrimental reliance is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction without prejudice to its renewal in a proper forum.
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