United States District Court, D. Colorado
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
Y. WANG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the court on Defendants Generational
Equity, LLC (“Generational Equity”) and
Generational Equity, LLC Employee Benefits Health &
Welfare Plan's (“the Plan”) Partial Motion to
Dismiss (the “Motion”). [#7, filed May 18, 2017].
The undersigned considers the Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b), the Order Referring Case dated June 1, 2017
[#18], and the Memorandum dated June 7, 2017 [#25]. This
court concludes that oral argument will not materially assist
in the resolution of the matter. Upon careful review of the
Motion, the relevant case law, and the entire docket, this
court respectfully RECOMMENDS that the
Motion be DENIED AS MOOT.
Laura Ihde (“Plaintiff” or “Ms.
Ihde”) initiated this action on April 5, 2017. [#1].
Plaintiff suffers from severe and disabling injuries and
illnesses that render her disabled, see
[id. at ¶¶ 26-32 (detailing
Plaintiff's ailments)]-the Social Security Administration
found Ms. Ihde completely disabled for Social Security
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income
purposes. [Id. at ¶¶ 14-15]. Plaintiff is
a beneficiary or and participant in the Plan, an employee
welfare benefit plan as that term is defined under Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29
U.S.C. § 1001 et. seq. [Id. at
¶¶ 2, 6-8]. The Complaint names the Plan;
Generational Equity, the Plan's Sponsor and
Administrator; and United of Omaha Life Insurance Company
(“United”), a fiduciary and insurer of the Plan,
as Defendants in this action for unlawfully withholding
alleges that she filed claims with the Plan for Short Term
and Long Term Disability benefits, and that the Plan approved
and paid ($5, 000 per month) those claims through November
20, 2014. [Id. at ¶¶ 16-18]. However,
according to Plaintiff, Defendant United, acting on behalf of
the Plan, terminated payments on November 20, 2014, and
issued a denial of benefits letter on November 21.
[Id. at ¶¶21-22]. Plaintiff
administratively appealed this denial that same day.
[Id. at ¶ 23]. Defendant United, acting on
behalf of the Plan, upheld its denial of benefits, despite
medical evidence proffered by Plaintiff, on April 28, 2015.
[Id. at ¶ 36].
maintains that she continues to satisfy the definition of
disability under the Plan, has done so since June 22, 2013,
and is permanently disabled. [Id. at ¶¶
37-38]. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies
and, thus, filed this suit. [Id. at ¶ 39].
Complaint brings three claims against the named Defendants.
[#1]. First, that all Defendants unlawfully withheld Long
Term Disability benefits under the Plan in violation of 29
U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) (“Claim I”).
[Id. at 6-7]. Second, that, pursuant to 29 U.S.C.
§§ 1109, 1132(a)(2), Defendants Generational Equity
and United, as fiduciaries of the Plan, breached their
fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff as a participant in the
Plan (“Claim II”). [Id. at 7-11].
Lastly, that Defendant Generational Equity failed to provide
requested documents pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §§
1132(a)(1)(A), 1132(c)(1) (“Claim III”).
[Id. at 11-17].
18, 2017, Defendants Generational Equity and the Plan filed
the instant Motion, seeking dismissal of Claims I and II
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
[#7]. These Defendants filed an Answer as to Claim III that
same day. [#8].
7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to
Respond to the Motion, indicating that she and Defendants
Generational Equity and the Plan were engaged in meaningful
settlement negotiations that may dispose of her claims
against these entities. [#26]. This court granted Plaintiff
additional time to respond up to and including June 22, 2017.
[#28]. Then, on June 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Notice of
Settlement, informing the court that she had settled all of
her claims against Defendants Generational Equity and the
Plan, and that she would not file a response to their Partial
Motion to Dismiss. [#34]. Defendant United remains a party to
this action, and a Scheduling Conference regarding
Plaintiff's remaining claims against Defendant United
(Claims I and II) is set for June 23, 2017. See
Generational Equity and the Plan moved to dismiss Claims I
and II, arguing that they had no discretion “regarding
whether to pay or deny benefits under the Plan[.]” [#7
at 3]. According to these Defendants, Defendant United
“retained all discretion” as to whether to pay or
deny Plaintiff's claims under the Plan; thus, Plaintiff
could not maintain Claims I and II against Defendants
Generational Equity and the Plan. [Id. at 4]. But as
discussed, Plaintiff and Defendants Generational Equity and
the Plan filed a Notice of Settlement on June 22, 2017.
[#34]. The Notice of Settlement indicates that these Parties
have reached a settlement as to Plaintiff's claims
against them,  and therefore, there is no longer a live
case or controversy between Plaintiff and Defendant
Generational Equity. Accordingly, this court respectfully
RECOMMENDS that the instant Motion be
DENIED AS MOOT.
reasons stated herein, this court respectfully
Defendants Generational Equity, LLC and Generational Equity,
LLC Employee Benefits Health & Welfare Plan's Partial