782 F.2d 58 (6th Cir. 1986), 84-1860, Solomon v. Aetna Life Ins. Co.

Docket Nº:84-1860.
Citation:782 F.2d 58
Party Name:William SOLOMON; Richard Vincent; Jesse Vivian; Kirill Bochnewich; Berj Nercessian; and Julius Smith, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. AETNA LIFE INSURANCE CO., a Connecticut corporation; Cunningham Drug Stores, Inc., a Michigan corporation, Defendants, National Bank of Detroit, a national banki
Case Date:January 24, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 58

782 F.2d 58 (6th Cir. 1986)

William SOLOMON; Richard Vincent; Jesse Vivian; Kirill

Bochnewich; Berj Nercessian; and Julius Smith,

Individually and on behalf of all others

similarly situated,

Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

AETNA LIFE INSURANCE CO., a Connecticut corporation;

Cunningham Drug Stores, Inc., a Michigan

corporation, Defendants,

National Bank of Detroit, a national banking institution,

jointly and severally, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 84-1860.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 24, 1986

Argued Oct. 8, 1985.

Page 59

Kenneth A. Slusser (argued), Cumming, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.C., Livonia, Mich., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Thomas P. Hustoles, Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, Jack O. Kalmink, Cross, Wrock, Miller & Vieson, Detroit, Mich., William F. Conlon, Chicago, Ill., Francis R. Ortiz (argued), Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman, Detroit, Mich., for National Bank of Detroit.

Before MARTIN and WELLFORD, Circuit Judges, and PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.

BOYCE F. MARTIN, Jr., Circuit Judge.

We have before us an ERISA case involving multiple claims and multiple parties, where summary judgment was granted to National Bank of Detroit, and a certification under 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was made. However, because we can find in this record no reasons for the certification given by the district court, we vacate the certification and dismiss the appeal.

William Solomon and five other former employees of Cunningham Drug Stores in Detroit have sued claiming that each of their vested balances in the Cunningham Retirement Plan were improperly reduced by 11.7%. The plan provides for two distinct retirement investment funds: (1) an equity fund managed by the National Bank of Detroit and invested in common stock options or their equivalent; and (2) a segregated investment fund called the guaranteed principal fund which is to be invested solely in insurance contracts selected by the employer Cunningham or in cash equivalents as directed by Cunningham. Cunningham elected to fund this portion of the plan through a multivestor contract with the Aetna Life Insurance Company. The alleged improper reduction occurred as a result of a market value adjustment made by Aetna in connection with the plaintiffs' election of a lump sum distribution of their benefits from the guaranteed principal fund portion of the plan.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs claimed damages against the National Bank of Detroit, which was the plan trustee pursuant to a trust agreement dated October 6, 1976, Cunningham Drug Stores and Aetna Life Insurance Company. Following the filing of answers, the National Bank of Detroit sought summary judgment in the district court. The bank claimed that Solomon and his fellow former employees were owed no statutory or common law duties with regard to the investments which they claimed were improper. The bank argued the trust agreement was clear that it was neither the plan administrator nor did it have any discretionary authority over the multivestor insurance contract in the guaranteed principal fund. The bank also argued that the plaintiffs' common law claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 et seq. ("ERISA"). The bank's motion for summary judgment was granted to November 5, 1984, and the district court's judgment was certified as final pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiffs appeal that decision.

Although the plaintiffs and the National Bank of Detroit have focused on...

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