Pearce v. Chrysler LLC Pension Plan
ORDER Adopting Report and Recommendation for Denying 50 Motion to Amend filed by Randy D. Pearce, Granting 39 Motion for Judgment filed by Randy D. Pearce re 55 Report and Recommendation. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Randy D. Pearce,
Case No. 10-14720
Chrysler Group LLC Pension Plan,
Honorable Sean F. Cox
ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff Randy D. Pearce filed this ERISA action against Defendant Chrysler LLC
Pension Plan in Wayne County Circuit court. Defendant removed the matter to this Court, based
on federal question jurisdiction. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Michael
Hluchaniuk for determination of all non-dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
and Report and Recommendation pursuant to § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C).
The parties initially had disputes regarding discovery and the administrative record in
this action. Based upon Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk’s recommendation, this matter was
remanded to the administrator for further development of the record. This case was later
reopened after the administrative proceedings concluded.
Thereafter, the parties filed several motions. On June 20, 2013, Magistrate Judge
Hluchaniuk issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) wherein he recommends that this
Court: 1) deny Plaintiff’s motions for judgment on the record; 2) deny Plaintiff’s motions for
leave to amend; and 3) grant Defendant’s motion for judgment on the record. (Docket Entry No.
Pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b), a party objecting to the recommended disposition of a
matter by a Magistrate Judge must filed objections to the R&R within fourteen (14) days after
being served with a copy of the R&R. The rule further provides that a party may respond to
another party’s objections within fourteen days after being served with a copy. “The district
judge to whom the case is assigned shall make a de novo determination upon the record, or after
additional evidence, of any portion of the magistrate judge’s disposition to which specific written
objection has been made.” Id.
On July 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R. (Docket Entry No. 56). On
August 1, 2013, Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff’s objections. (Docket Entry No. 58).
Rule 72(b) does not authorize a party who filed objections to a report and
recommendation to file additional objections or a “reply brief” in support of his or her
objections. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Nevertheless, without seeking leave of this Court to do so,
Plaintiff filed an additional brief on August 23, 2013. Accordingly, the Court hereby STRIKES
this unauthorized filing (Docket Entry No. 59) and ORDERS that it be stricken from the docket.
The Court shall now consider Plaintiff’s Objections, set forth in his July 5, 2013 filing.
Plaintiff asserts five objections.
First, Plaintiff “objects to the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation that the arbitrary and
capricious standard, rather than the preponderance of the evidence standard, be used to
determine whether a summary plan description and the actual plan document conflict under
ERISA § 502(a)(3).” (Pl.’s Objs. at 1 & 10). In his R&R, however, the magistrate judge made
no such recommendation. Although the standard of review section of the R&R recited the
arbitrary and capricious standard that applies to the Court’s review of claims under ERISA
Section 502(a)(1)(b) (see R&R at 11-12), the later discussion and analysis of the alleged conflict
between the Summary Plan Description and the Pension Plan show that the magistrate judge
properly applied a preponderance of the evidence standard to this issue. (R&R at 17).
Second, Plaintiff “objects to the Magistrate Judge’s report that there is no evidence that a
conflict of interest exists between Chrysler and the Chrysler Employee Benefits Committee.”
(Pl.’s Objs. at 2 and 10). Again, Plaintiff’s Counsel is mistaken. The R&R did not report that
there was no evidence that a conflict of interest exists. Rather, it stated that, “[i]n this case,
plaintiff does not offer any evidence that a conflict of interest impacted any aspect of the EBC’s
determination.” (R&R at 12) (emphasis added).
Third, Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge’s “report that there is no conflict between
the Summary Plan Description and the Actual Plan Document for the Chrysler Pension Plan.”
(Pl.’s Objs. at 2 & 11). The Court finds this objection without merit. Magistrate Judge
Hluchaniuk carefully analyzed this issue and the Court concurs with his conclusion that there is
no conflict. (See R&R at 15-17).
Fourth, Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge’s “recommendation that Plaintiff be
denied leave to amend the complaint.” (Pl.’s Objs at 2 & 17). Plaintiff acknowledges that the
magistrate judge reported that amendment would be futile because there is no conflict between
the Summary Plan Description and the actual Plan Document but continues to argue that there is
such a conflict. (See Pl.’s Objs. at 18). As stated above, however, the Court concurs with
Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk’s conclusion that there is no conflict. As such, the requested
amendment is futile.
As his fifth “objection,” Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge’s “recommendation that
Defendant’s motion for judgment on the administrative record be granted, and that Plaintiff’s
motion for judgment on the administrative record be denied.” (Pl.’s Objs. at 2). That is, he
make a general objection to the magistrate judge’s ultimate conclusions. Having reviewed and
considered the R&R, however, the Court concurs with Magistrate Judge Hluchaniuk’s analysis
The Court hereby ADOPTS the June 20, 2013, R&R. IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s
motion for judgment on the record, and Plaintiff’s motions for leave to amend, are DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant’s motion for judgment on the record is GRANTED
and this action shall be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
S/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
United States District Judge
Dated: September 12, 2013
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on
September 12, 2013, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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