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FERGUSON v. GREYHOUND RETIREMENT & DISABILITY TRUS

July 18, 1985

WILLIAM R. FERGUSON, Plaintiff
v.
GREYHOUND RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY TRUST, Trustee of the Greyhound Lines, Inc., Welfare Fund for Local 1063 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

 AND NOW this 18th day of July, 1985, having considered defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's opposition thereto, along with evidentiary materials and briefs supplied by both parties, IT IS ORDERED THAT:

 1. Defendant's motion is DENIED in accord with the accompanying opinion;

 2. Discovery shall proceed and be completed by August 26, 1985;

 3. Plaintiff's pretrial narrative, and any further summary judgment motions, motions in limine or trial briefs by either party, shall be filed on or before September 2, 1985;

 4. Defendant's pretrial narrative, and responses to any outstanding motions or trial briefs, shall be filed on or before September 16, 1985;

 5. A pretrial conference will be scheduled thereafter.

 WEBER, D.J.

 July 18, 1985

 This is an action brought under Employee Retirement Income Security Act, (ERISA) 29 U.S.C. § 1132, for recovery of benefits claimed by plaintiff under the terms of the Greyhound Retirement and Disability Trust. It is presently before the court on defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 Defendant first argues that plaintiff's claim must be dismissed because it is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Since Chapter 5 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1132, does not prescribe a limitations period for the bringing of civil actions to recover benefits, defendant argues that this court should apply either the six month limit of Delcostello v. Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 172, 103 S. Ct. 2281, 76 L. Ed. 2d 476 (1983), or the thirty day state statute of limitations governing appeals from arbitrator's awards.

 Characterization of the nature of the claim is key to the selection of an analogous limitations period and is a matter of federal law. International Union, UAW v. Hoosier Cardinal Corporation, 383 U.S. 696, 706, 16 L. Ed. 2d 192, 86 S. Ct. 1107 (1966).

 This is an action for recovery of benefits due under the terms of an employee pension benefit plan. Complaint at p. 1. The plan in question is in written form and is attached to defendant's motion for summary judgment. The procedure under the plan for submission of a benefit and for the appeal of the denial of that claim are not analogous to a labor-management arbitration proceeding. Neither does this complaint challenge the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, or assert wrongful discharge or breach of a duty of fair representation. As such, the claim is not analogous to an arbitration proceeding or a labor law claim and is distinguishable from Delcostello. We believe that the claim is most analogous to contract law. See Jenkins v. Teamsters, 713 F.2d 247, 252 (7th Cir. 1983); Livolsi ...


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