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FERRARA v. ALLENTOWN PHYSICIAN ANESTHESIA ASSOCS.

March 28, 1989

FRANK FERRARA, M.D.
v.
ALLENTOWN PHYSICIAN ANESTHESIA ASSOCIATES, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VAN ANTWERPEN

 FRANKLIN S. VAN ANTWERPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 In the instant matter, plaintiff seeks to recover money allegedly owed him under employee pension and profit sharing plans. From the non-jury trial of February 24, 1989, the parties stipulate to the following undisputed facts:

 1. This court has jurisdiction under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. (1982), as plaintiff's cause of action arises out of his claim for certain monies which he alleges Allentown Physician Anesthesia Associates, Inc. ("APAA") owes him under its employee pension plan ("pension plan") and profit sharing plan and trust ("profit sharing plan").

 2. APAA is a Pennsylvania Professional Corporation organized on March 1, 1973 to provide anesthesia services.

 3. Effective March 1, 1973, APAA adopted pension and profit sharing plans.

 4. On March 1, 1976, in order to comply with ERISA, APAA adopted amended and restated pension and profit sharing plans. A copy of the 1976 amended and restated pension plan is attached as part of Exhibit "B" to plaintiff's complaint. A copy of the 1976 amended and restated profit sharing plan is attached to the stipulated facts as Exhibit "A".

 5. APAA applied to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") for a determination that the 1976 amendments to the plans complied with ERISA.

 6. In August, 1977, the IRS issued favorable determination letters concerning both APAA's pension and profit sharing plans. Such letters resulted in the qualification of the plans under § 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 8. On February 20, 1978, APAA adopted amendments to both plans to liberalize their vesting schedules. A copy of amendment no. 2 to APAA's pension plan is attached as part of Exhibit "B" to plaintiff's complaint, and a copy of amendment no. 2 to APAA's profit sharing plan is attached as part of Exhibit "C" to plaintiff's complaint.

 9. Thus, the 1976 Plans, as amended in 1978, provided for one hundred percent (100%) vesting after completion of three years of service and fifty percent (50%) vesting after two years of service, but less than three years of service.

 10. Prior to April 14, 1982, APAA began to have discussions with plaintiff, Frank Ferrara, M.D. ("Dr. Ferrara"), concerning possible employment of Dr. Ferrara.

 11. On April 14, 1982, APAA sent Dr. Ferrara a letter, a copy of which is attached to the stipulated facts as Exhibit "D", outlining certain benefits of his prospective employment. Specifically, with regard to the pension and profit sharing plans, the letter provided that:

 
Your annual salary will be $ 75,000.00 until September 1, 1983. On that date you will start participating in our Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, with the percentage of contribution by the employer being equal to that of all other full time employees. At the end of three years of participation, your share will become fully vested.

 12. Dr. Ferrara became employed by APAA on August 1, 1982, under and pursuant to the terms of a written employment agreement dated June 15, 1982. A copy of that employment agreement is attached as Exhibit "A" to plaintiff's complaint.

 13. At the request of Dr. Ferrara's attorney, the employment agreement contained specific reference to Dr. Ferrara's participation in APAA's pension and profit sharing plans. See letter dated June 15, 1982 attached to the stipulated facts as Exhibit "E".

 14. The employment agreement provided that Dr. Ferrara's participation in the pension plan and the profit sharing plan was ...


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