142 F.3d 435 (6th Cir. 1998), 97-3144, Newman v. New England Life Ins.

Docket Nº:97-3144, 97-3253.
Citation:142 F.3d 435
Party Name:Barry K. NEWMAN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. New England Life Insurance; Benefit Plan Administrator, Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:March 13, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 435

142 F.3d 435 (6th Cir. 1998)

Barry K. NEWMAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,


New England Life Insurance; Benefit Plan Administrator, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 97-3144, 97-3253.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 13, 1998

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 (See FI CTA6 Rule 28 and FI CTA6 IOP 206 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Before RYAN, COLE, and GILMAN, Circuit Judges.

New England Life Insurance appeals a district court order granting Newman's motion for voluntary dismissal of his complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a). This case has been referred to a panel of the court pursuant to Rule 9(a), Rules of the Sixth Circuit. Upon examination, this panel unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. Fed. R.App. P. 34(a).

Seeking monetary relief, Newman sued New England and its Benefit Plan Administrator alleging one count of promissory estoppel and two ERISA claims. The district court subsequently granted Newman's motion to dismiss the ERISA claims with prejudice and dismissed the promissory estoppel claim without prejudice with leave to refile the claim in state court.

New England appeals the dismissal, arguing that the promissory estoppel count is preempted by ERISA. In his brief, Newman has requested attorney's fees and costs associated with this appeal. We note that New England filed a notice of appeal from the district court's order of dismissal dated December 20, 1996, and a separate notice of appeal from the district court's clarified order of dismissal filed on January 22, 1997.

The district court's order dismissing Newman's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a) is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard. See Grover v. Eli Lilly and Co., 33 F.3d 716, 718 (6th Cir.1994). An abuse of discretion is found only when the defendant would suffer "plain legal prejudice" as a result of the dismissal. Id.

The district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Newman's complaint. Count one of Newman's complaint alleged that he worked for New England in Los Angeles. Because he was a successful sales representative in Los Angeles, New England made various promises to convince Newman to transfer to New England's Cleveland office. After he agreed to the transfer and moved to Cleveland, New England closed its...

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