116 F.3d 1483 (7th Cir. 1997), 95-1534, Simmons v. GTE North, Inc.

Docket Nº:95-1534.
Citation:116 F.3d 1483
Party Name:John E. SIMMONS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. GTE NORTH, INC. and GTE Corp., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:June 25, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 1483

116 F.3d 1483 (7th Cir. 1997)

John E. SIMMONS, Plaintiff-Appellant,


GTE NORTH, INC. and GTE Corp., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 95-1534.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 25, 1997

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA7 Rule 53 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Submitted June 25, 1997. [*]

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division, 93 C 20019; Philip G. Reinhard, Judge.

Before CUMMINGS, BAUER, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.


John Simmons appeals summary judgment in favor of defendants in his suit alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.

Simmons was employed by Contel of Illinois as a telephone repairman when he injured his back while on the job on March 15, 1990. The injury aggravated a previous back injury Simmons had suffered after a fall during a repair job, and eventually Simmons was declared totally disabled. He has not been actively employed since his 1990 injury.

At the time of Simmons's injury Contel of Illinois was a subsidiary of Contel Corporation. In 1991 Contel Corporation merged with GTE Corporation, and in 1993, Contel of Illinois merged with Contel of Indiana, Inc. and Contel of Pennsylvania, Inc. to form GTE North, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of GTE Corporation. The entities surviving the mergers were GTE Corporation and GTE North, Inc. Although Contel of Illinois became part of GTE North, the benefits plan provided by Contel of Illinois continued in effect for the GTE employees who had worked for Contel.

Between 1990 and 1993, Simmons contacted Contel and GTE personnel and requested copies of his benefits plan, to which he was entitled under ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1024(b)(4), 1132. He was sent copies of the applicable collective bargaining agreement and the Contel medical, dental, life insurance, and pension plans. Contending that the merger made him a GTE employee rather than a Contel employee, Simmons asserted that he was not receiving the complete array of plans and forms to which he was entitled and that Contel/GTE was denying him his proper benefits. Eventually he brought suit under ERISA, contending that: (1) defendants failed to pay him all the benefits to which he was entitled; (2) he was entitled to a permanent injunction against defendants for failing to provide him the proper explanations of his benefits; (3) defendants failed to provide him the proper information regarding his benefits; (4) defendants failed to pay full benefits and threatened to request the return of some payments already made; (5) he was entitled to a declaratory judgment regarding the nature and extent of his medical and life insurance benefits; (6) he deserved compensation for the trauma resulting from his attempts to secure his benefits; (7) defendants had acted harassingly and in bad faith; and (8) he was entitled to attorney fees and costs for bringing legal action. The...

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