104 F.3d 361 (6th Cir. 1996), 95-2001, Lampkins v. Golden

Docket Nº:95-2001.
Citation:104 F.3d 361
Party Name:Deborah LAMPKINS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Robert H. GOLDEN, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:December 17, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 361

104 F.3d 361 (6th Cir. 1996)

Deborah LAMPKINS, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Robert H. GOLDEN, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 95-2001.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 17, 1996

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA6 Rule 28 and FI CTA6 IOP 206 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

On Appeal from the United States District Court, for the Eastern District of Michigan, No. 93-60082; George LaPlata, District Judge.

E.D.Mich.

AFFIRMED.

Before: SILER, MOORE and COLE, Circuit Judges.

COLE, Circuit Judge.

Defendant-Appellant Robert H. Golden appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment imposing a penalty against him pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c)(1)(B) for failure to furnish requested retirement plan information to a former employee, Plaintiff-Appellee Deborah Lampkins. For the reasons that follow, we AFFIRM the decision of the district court.

I.

Deborah Lampkins ("Lampkins") was employed as a secretary in the law firm of Robert H. Golden, P.C. from 1980 to 1992. During this period, the law firm sponsored both a pension plan and profit-sharing plan for employees. While employed there, Lampkins participated in the Robert H. Golden Pension Trust ("Pension Plan") 1 and the Robert H. Golden Profit Sharing Trust ("Profit Sharing Plan"). 2 Robert Golden ("Golden"), who is the sole shareholder and president of the law firm, serves as the sole administrator and trustee of both plans. He is also the only other participant in the plans.

Approximately three months after Lampkins ended her employment with the law firm, Golden furnished Lampkins a statement disclosing that her vested accrued benefit in the Pension Plan amounted to $4,455.33. 3 In addition to this statement, Golden notified Lampkins in writing that she had thirty days to submit a written request for the withdrawal of the money in the Pension Plan. Responding to Golden's letter, Lampkins advised Golden by letter dated July 1, 1992 that she was not willing to request distribution of these monies absent an opportunity to review the Pension Plan and the Profit Sharing Plan in their entirety. Believing that her vested accrued benefit in the Pension Plan amounted to more than $4,455.33, Lampkins requested copies of "the original Pension Plan documents, and any other documents, including the Adoption Agreement ..." and "... the same sort of documents for the Profit Sharing Plan."

Golden responded by providing Lampkins with three plan-related documents, including a 1987 Pension Plan Adoption Agreement ("the 1987 Adoption Agreement"). Golden, however, did not provide Lampkins with a copy of the Pension Plan Adoption Agreement in effect from January 18, 1978 through April 30, 1987 ("the 1978 Adoption Agreement"). Because the 1978 Adoption Agreement contained a different employer contribution formula from that set forth in the 1987 Adoption Agreement, Lampkins was unable to calculate accurately the amount of her vested accrued benefit in the Pension Plan without copies of both agreements. 4 Lampkins thereupon retained counsel, who made additional requests of Golden for copies of the 1978 Adoption Agreement. After a series of letters between Golden and Lampkins's counsel, Golden informed Lampkins on December 3, 1992 that the 1978 Adoption Agreement could not be found.

On March 25, 1993, Lampkins filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, seeking a judgment determining her accrued benefits in the Pension and Profit Sharing Plans and ordering Golden to distribute those benefits as she designated. 5 During discovery, Lampkins formally requested production of the 1978 Adoption Agreement. However, Golden failed to produce the document until after Lampkins filed a motion to compel its production. Lampkins then moved for summary judgment and requested, in addition to her Pension Plan and Profit Sharing Plan benefits, that the court assess a penalty against Golden for his failure to furnish the pension and...

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