The opinion of the court was delivered by: Caputo, United States District Judge
Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 27) by Defendants Union Trowel Trades Benefit Funds of Central Pennsylvania ("Union Trowel"), the Union Trowel Trades Benefit Fund of Central Pennsylvania, d/b/a/ Union Trowel Trades Benefit Fund of Central Pennsylvania Health and Welfare Plan ("Union Trowel Fund"), the Board of Trustees of the Union Trowel Trades Benef it Fund of Central Pennsylvania ("Trustees"), and D.H. Evans Associates, Inc. ("D.H. Evans").
Plaintiff Richard T. Santasania commenced this action on July 30, 2001. (Doc. 1.) In relevant part, Plaintiff's complaint stated that the Union Trowel Fund, through which Plaintiff had received health care benefits, improperly terminated his health care coverage effective September 1, 2000, forcing him to pay monthly premiums to keep his health care pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 ("COBRA"). Plaintiff also claimed that Defendants improperly refused to pay medical bills incurred as a result of an auto accident in which Plaintiff was involved on August 17, 2000. In addition, Plaintiff claimed entitlement to pre-judgment interest and attorney fees.*fn1
In seeking reimbursement for his COBRA payments, Plaintiff seeks relief that is not available under ERISA. Accordingly, I will enter judgment in Defendants' favor with respect to this claim. Because an application for attorney fees under ERISA should be brought only after entry of judgment, the claim contained in Plaintiff's complaint is premature. Accordingly, I will dismiss this claim without prejudice. Finally, Plaintiff's claim for payment of medical bills and pre-judgment interest have become moot. As all claims in this matter have been resolved or become moot, I will order this case closed.
Prior to June 1, 2000, Plaintiff was a participant in a health care plan administered by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 5 ("Local 5 Fund"). During the Spring of 2000, the Local 5 Fund was on the verge of insolvency. Therefore, effective June 1, 2000, the Local 5 Fund merged into another fund — the Union Trowel Fund — which is a Defendant in this action.
The Union Trowel Fund is administered by the Defendant Trustees. The Trustees have delegated day-to-day administration of the Union Trowel Fund to Defendant D.H. Evans.
Plaintiff was injured August 17, 2000 in an auto accident. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 9.) Plaintiff submitted medical bills to the Union Trowel Fund. The Union Trowel Fund initially denied coverage, and Plaintiff had to pay his medical bills out-of-pocket. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 11-13.) Then, by letter dated October 4, 2000, D.H. Evans (the day-to-day administrator of the Union Trowel Fund) terminated Plaintiff's health care coverage. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 14). Plaintiff elected coverage under COBRA in order to maintain his health care benefits. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 14-16.) Electing COBRA coverage meant that Plaintiff had to pay monthly premiums.
In a letter dated October 16, 2000, Plaintiff appealed both D.H. Evans' refusal to pay Plaintiff's medical bills and the termination of Plaintiff's health care coverage. At its December 2000 meeting, the Union Trowel Fund's Trustees sustained Plaintiff's appeal with respect to the medical bills. As for the termination of Plaintiff `s health care benefits, the Trustees remanded the decision for further consideration. On September 13, 2001, D.H. Evans notified Plaintiff that it had reaffirmed its initial decision that Plaintiff was ineligible for health care benefits. (Doc. 6, Ex. G.) Plaintiff had already commenced this action.
A. Claims That Are Now Moot.
1. Payment of Plaintiff's Medical Bills.
Defendants state that on September 13, 2001, the Union Trowel Fund paid "all benefit claims that it had in its possession arising out of Plaintiff's August 17, 2000 automobile accident." (Doc. 28 at 16.) Plaintiff agrees. (Doc. 35 at 3.) Moreover, Defendants continue to pay Plaintiff's medical bills as they are submitted. (Doc. 28 at 16-17.) Plaintiff does not dispute this. (Doc. 35.) Defendants have submitted ...