Brown v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company et al
AMENDED ORDER Granting Defendants' Motion for Reconsideration 51 and Dismissing the Complaint, and Notice of Hearing for Counterclaim Scheduling Conference. Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Action No. 10-CV-14442
Honorable Denise Page Hood
WALGREENS INCOME PROTECTIVE
PLAN FOR STORE MANAGERS,
WALGREEN CO., and METROPOLITAN
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,
AMENDED ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT, AND NOTICE OF
HEARING FOR COUNTERCLAIM SCHEDULING CONFERENCE
On June 22, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that Plaintiff’s claims were
barred by the contractual statute of limitations, which precluded the filing of a legal action when
three years lapsed after proof of disability was filed. After lengthy briefing, the Court denied
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss. The Court found that the Walgreens Income Protection Plan for
Store Managers (Plan) and the Summary Plan Description (SPD) conflicted because the SPD did
not include information on the contractual limitations period. The Court then applied the Michigan
statute of limitations for breach of contract and found that Plaintiff’s action was not time barred. For
the reasons stated below, Defendants Motion for Reconsideration is granted. Accordingly,
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is granted and Plaintiff’s Complaint is dismissed in its entirety as
Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(h) allows a party to file a motion for
reconsideration within 14 days after entry of judgment or order. E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(1). No
response or oral argument is allowed unless the Court orders otherwise. E.D. Mich. L.R. 7(h)(2).
Pursuant to Rule 7.1(h)(3) “the court will not grant motions for rehearing or reconsideration that
merely present the same issues ruled upon by the court, either expressly or by reasonable
implication.” A motion for reconsideration is only proper if the movant shows that the court and the
parties were misled by a “palpable defect.” E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3). A “palpable defect” is a
“defect which is obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or plain.” Olson v. The Home Depot, 321
F.Supp.2d 872, 874 (E.D. Mich. 2004). The movant must also demonstrate that the disposition of
the case would be different if the palpable defect were cured. E. D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3).
Defendants’ motion is timely and the Court will not require a response or oral argument on this
After reviewing Defendants’ motion for reconsideration, the Court agrees with Defendants’
conclusion that there is no conflict between the Plan and SPD language. The Sixth Circuit has held
that when the terms of the SPD conflict with those contained in the Plan documents, the SPD
language controls. Edwards v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 851 F.2d 134, 136 (6th Cir. 1988).
However, the rational in Edwards does not apply when the SPD is silent. See Sprague v. General
Motors Corp., 133 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 1998). “An omission from the summary plan description does
not, by negative implication, alter the terms of the plan itself.” Id. at 401. Furthermore, the Supreme
Court has recently explained “that the summary documents . . . provide communication with
beneficiaries about the plan, but . . . their statements do not themselves constitute the terms of the
plan for the purposes of § 502(a)(1)(B).” CIGNA Corp. v. Amara, 131 S.Ct. 1866, 1878 (2011).
Necessarily, Plaintiff cannot justifiably rely on the SPD for the governing provisions of the
insurance plan. Although the SPD does not contain the limitations period, its silence does not
constitute a conflict with the Plan language. The SPD is merely a summary and the Court must
apply the language in the Plan, including its contractual limitations period. See Rice v. Jefferson
Pilot Financial Ins. Co., 578 F.3d 450 (6th Cir. 2009); Clark v. NBD Bank, 3 Fed. App’x 500 (6th
According to the Plan’s language, Plaintiff is barred from filing an action more than three
years after proof of disability was required. Plaintiff’s claim accrued 270 days after determination
of disability. Plaintiff’s disability began on December 30, 2005. Proof of disability was required
on September 28, 2006. Plaintiff then had three years to file an action in court, which was on or
before September 28, 2009. Plaintiff did not file this action until November 6, 2010, well after the
limitations period had lapsed. Plaintiff’s Complaint is time barred.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration [Docket No. 51, filed April
12, 2012] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 29, filed
June 22, 2011] is GRANTED. The Amended Complaint [Docket No. 2, filed November 6, 2010]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties appear for a scheduling conference on the
counterclaim on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
United States District Judge
Dated: March 15, 2013
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on March
15, 2013, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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