Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

The Michelin Retirement Plan v. Dilworth Paxson LLP

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

May 13, 2019

The Michelin Retirement Plan; The Investment Committee of the Michelin Retirement Plan, Plaintiffs,
v.
Chicago Transit Authority Retiree Health Care Trust, Intervenor Plaintiff,
v.
Dilworth Paxson LLP; BFG Socially Responsible Investments, Ltd.; Burnham Financial Group, Inc.; Burnham Securities, Inc.; COR Fund Advisors, LLC; GMT Duncan, LLC; Thorsdale Fiduciary and Guaranty Company Ltd.; Valor Group Ltd.; Wakpamni Lake Community Corp.; Wealth-Assurance AG; Wealth Assurance Private Client Corporation; Timothy B. Anderson; Jon Michael Burnham; Devon D. Archer; Bevan T. Cooney; Hugh Dunkerley; Jason W. Galanis; John P. Galanis; Gary T. Hirst; Frankie D. Hughes; and Michelle A. Morton, Defendants, Frankie D. Hughes, Counter Claimant,
v.
The Michelin Retirement Plan; The Investment Committee of the Michelin Retirement Plan, Counter Defendants.

          ORDER

          DONALD C. COGGINS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Dilworth Paxson, LLP (“Dilworth”) and Timothy B. Anderson (collectively, the “DP Defendants”). ECF No. 301. Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition, and the DP Defendants filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 309, 315. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.), this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin for pre-trial proceedings and a Report and Recommendation (“Report”). On January 28, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report recommending that the Motion to Dismiss be granted. ECF No. 408. Plaintiffs and the DP Defendants filed objections to the Report and Replies to the objections. ECF Nos. 423, 424, 433, 434.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the Report of the Magistrate Judge to which a specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See U.S.C. § 636(b). The Court will review the Report only for clear error in the absence of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating that “in the absence of timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” (citation omitted)).

         DISCUSSION

         The Court notes that neither party has objected to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that Plaintiffs have standing to assert claims against the DP Defendants, that Plaintiffs suffered an Article III injury in fact, and that the Investment Committee is a fiduciary that is statutorily authorized to bring claims. The Court has reviewed this portion of the Report for clear error; finding none, the Court adopts the reasoning of the Magistrate Judge with respect to these conclusions. The Court now turns to the parties' objections.

         Count II

         The Magistrate Judge found that Count II fails to state a claim against the DP Defendants because the relief they request is not available in an ERISA § 502(a)(3) claim. Specifically, she determined that Plaintiffs are seeking only “actual damages and consequential damages . . . costs and attorneys' fees”, which are not available under § 502(a)(3). ECF No. 408 (citing ECF No. 1 at 57).

         Plaintiffs object to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation and argue that a request for monetary relief can be a request for appropriate equitable relief as recognized in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 563 U.S. 421 (2011). Plaintiffs contend that Amara was decided after the case relied on by the Magistrate Judge, Hornady Transp. LLC v. McLeod Health Servs., Inc., 773 F.Supp.2d (D.S.C. 2011), and enunciated a broader scope of equitable relief available under § 502(a)(3), including disgorgement and surcharge.

         The Court has thoroughly reviewed the record, applicable law, and the Report of the Magistrate Judge. Having done so, the Court agrees with the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiffs' requested relief is not available in a § 502(a)(3) claim. Plaintiffs are correct that Amara recognized a broader category of equitable relief available under § 502 (a)(3), including “restitution, disgorgement, accounting for profits, etc.” Pender v. Bank of Am. Corp., 736 Fed.Appx. 359, 368 (4th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 S.Ct. 1261 (2019). However, here, Plaintiffs have not requested restitution, [2] disgorgement, accounting for profits, surcharge, or any other kind of equitable relief available pursuant to § 502(a)(3). Moreover, there is no allegation that the DP Defendants received any of the transfers or misused any of Plaintiffs' assets such that an equitable remedy would be appropriate. Plaintiffs' objections are overruled with respect to Count II.[3]

         Count X

         The DP Defendants argue that if Count II is dismissed, this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over the DP Defendants with respect to a state law claim for professional negligence[4] once the ERISA claim against them has been dismissed. It appears this argument was not directly addressed by the Magistrate Judge. Upon review, the Court agrees that, because Plaintiffs can no longer rely on ERISA's nationwide service of process provision, it lacks personal jurisdiction over the DP Defendants to decide a state law claim for professional negligence.[5]

         A federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant in the manner provided by state law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A). Thus, "for a district court to validly assert personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant, two conditions must be satisfied. First, the exercise of jurisdiction must be authorized by the long-arm statute of the forum state, and, second, the exercise of personal jurisdiction must also comport with Fourteenth Amendment due process requirements." Christian Sci. Bd. of Dirs. of First Church of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.