United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MICHAEL A. LONIGRO, Plaintiff,
NEW ENGLAND TEAMSTERS PENSION FUND,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT NEW ENGLAND
TEAMSTERS AND TRUCKING INDUSTRY PENSION FUND'S MOTION TO
Page Kelley United States Magistrate Judge
A. Lonigro, proceeding pro se, alleges that the New England
Teamsters and Trucking Industry Pension Fund (“Pension
Fund”), breached its fiduciary duty by not giving him
the Early Retirement pension to which he claims to be
entitled. (#1.) Defendant has moved to dismiss on the grounds
that plaintiff has failed to state a claim. (#12.) Mr.
Lonigro opposes the dispositive motion. (#19.) For the
following reasons, defendant's motion to dismiss is
facts are taken from the complaint, as well as documents
proffered by defendant. Mr. Lonigro was an employee of
United Parcel Service Cartage Services Inc.
(“UPS”). (#1.) He has been a member of Teamsters
Local 25 and a participant in the Pension Fund for over
twenty years. Id. Defendant, a defined benefit
pension fund governed by the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §
1001, et seq., is the pension provider for Teamsters
Local 25. Id. Reported contributions to the Pension
Fund on plaintiff's behalf ended in May 2010. (#14, Exh.
Lonigro alleges that, on May 20, 2015, he received permission
from UPS to return to work after a non-pay medical leave of
absence. (#1.) According to plaintiff, his union
representative had advised him that he needed 750 hours of
worktime in order to collect his pension. Id. The
following day, May 21, 2015, Mr. Lonigro was at the airport,
en route to return to his job, when a manager from UPS
contacted him and said he could not come back to work.
Id. Plaintiff asserts that this was a wrongful
termination either by UPS, or because a Local 25
representative influenced the UPS manager to renege on the
employment. Id. Noting that Local 25's
president sits on the board of the Pension Fund, plaintiff
alleges that the Teamsters Union breached its duty of fair
representation to him, which caused the Pension Fund to
breach its fiduciary duties, in violation of 29 U.S.C. §
1104. Id. Mr. Lonigro contends that he is due an
Early Retirement pension retroactive to May 2015.
Id. His request for Early Retirement benefits was
denied on April 1, 2016. (#14, Exh. 2.)
motion to dismiss, the Pension Fund clarifies that plaintiff
appears to be making a claim for benefits pursuant to ERISA
§ 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 (a)(1)(B), and
possibly a claim for breach of fiduciary duty pursuant to
ERISA § 502(a)(2), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(2). (#13 at
1.) Defendant argues that Mr. Lonigro was
denied Early Retirement benefits because he is an
“inactive vested participant” and as such, cannot
meet the plan requirements to receive any retirement benefits
prior to his normal retirement age. (#14, Exh.
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges a party's complaint
for failing to state a claim. In deciding such a motion, a
court must “treat all well-pleaded facts in the
complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the plaintiff.” In re Fin. Oversight & Mgmt.
Bd. for P.R., 919 F.3d 121, 127 (1st Cir. 2019)
(citing Ocasio-Hernández v.
Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2011)).
When considering a motion to dismiss, a court “may
augment these facts and inferences with data points gleaned
from documents incorporated by reference into the complaint,
matters of public record, and facts susceptible to judicial
notice.” A.G. ex rel. Maddox v. Elsevier,
Inc., 732 F.3d 77, 80 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Haley
v. City of Bos., 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011)).
order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
plaintiff must provide “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The
“obligation to provide the grounds of [the
plaintiff's] entitlement to relief requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do[.]”
Id. at 555 (internal citations omitted). The
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level, ” and to cross
the “line from conceivable to plausible.”
Id. at 555, 570.
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). However,
the court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). Simply put, the court should assume that well-pleaded
facts are genuine and then determine whether such facts state
a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679.
Claim for Benefits.
order to be eligible for Early Retirement benefits, the
Complete Rules and Regulations for the New England Teamsters