Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Fund, No. 75 CV 411 W 4.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
Writing for the CourtAlbert Yonke, Yonke & Shackelford, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant
Citation519 F. Supp. 9
PartiesElvin P. EVANS, Plaintiff, v. MO-KAN TEAMSTERS PENSION FUND, Defendant.
Docket NumberNo. 75 CV 411 W 4.
Decision Date24 July 1980

519 F. Supp. 9

Elvin P. EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
MO-KAN TEAMSTERS PENSION FUND, Defendant.

No. 75 CV 411 W 4.

United States District Court, W. D. Missouri, W. D.

July 24, 1980.


519 F. Supp. 10

Stanford C. Madden, Kansas City, Mo., for plaintiff.

Albert Yonke, Yonke & Shackelford, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ELMO B. HUNTER, District Judge:

This is an action brought pursuant to Section 502 of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1132. The plaintiff seeks that this Court find that the defendant violated the terms of the pension plan in denying plaintiff his pension benefits. Plaintiff also seeks an award of attorney's fees.

The case was called for trial on October 31, 1979. The parties waived presentation of testimony and submitted this matter on the exhibits and a joint stipulation of uncontroverted facts.

I.

The joint stipulation and the documentary evidence clearly establish the factual posture of this case.

Plaintiff was employed by Koss Construction Company ("Koss") from approximately 1950 to December 15, 1973. He worked as a truck and automotive mechanic for the entire 23 year period.

On January 2, 1974, plaintiff applied for pension benefits under the provisions of defendant pension plan. Plaintiff's application for benefits was denied by the trustees of the plan on December 13, 1974. On December 23, 1974, plaintiff was advised of the reasons for his denial in a letter from defendant. The reasons were expressed as follows:

"... Your application was rejected for the following reasons:
519 F. Supp. 11
1.) Contributions made by Koss Construction Company on your behalf from 1970 through October, 1973, were not made under the provisions of a written collective bargaining agreement with a participating local union requiring contributions to this Fund. During the period of January, 1970, to January, 1974, the evidence indicated that you were employed in Topeka, Kansas, Hutchinson, Kansas, Glenwood, Iowa, Melvern, Kansas, and Stillwater Oklahoma. In all of those areas you worked under collective bargaining agreements which did not require payments of contributions to this Fund.
2.) Your 21 years past credited service was not within the geographical jurisdiction of the Fund. During that time you worked outside of the areas of participating local unions which had collective bargaining agreements requiring contributions to the Fund."1

There is no dispute in this case that Koss was obligated under various collective bargaining agreements to participate in defendant pension fund.2 Rather, the controversy here involves a dispute over the application of the eligibility standards of the pension plan.

The pension plan has three basic requirements. First, the employee must have reached his 57th birthday. Second, the employee shall have at least twenty years of credited service in the jurisdiction of the fund. And third, the employee shall have contributions made in his behalf based on at least 4800 hours of covered employment.3

Plaintiff was 59 years old at the time of his application for pension benefits. Further, defendant does not dispute the fact that plaintiff had worked for Koss for 23 years in traditional Teamsters work.4 As well, the record clearly indicates that Koss made contributions to the fund for 5,968.5 hours of work on plaintiff's behalf from 1970 to 1973.5 Defendant admits that it received these funds, accepted them, and still retains them.

Instead, defendant argues that plaintiff should be denied his pension benefits because for certain periods of his 23 year tenure with Koss, plaintiff worked outside of the "jurisdiction of the fund".6 The collective bargaining agreements obligating

519 F. Supp. 12
Koss' participation in the pension plan required pension fund payments for work performed in all counties in the State of Missouri (except St. Louis City and St. Louis County) and Wyandotte, Johnson, Leavenworth and Miami Counties in the State of Kansas.7 Defendant's position is that the 4800 hour requirement was not met because only 2,243.5 of the 5,968.5 hours of contributions from 1970-1973 were "lawfully" made pursuant to the requirements of a collective bargaining agreement. And, defendant contends that plaintiff does not have 20 years of credited service in the jurisdiction of the fund because he worked outside of the aforementioned counties for a portion of the 23 years.8

The contractual instruments establishing the pension plan do not define the term "jurisdiction of the fund".9 Although defendant argues that the term has been consistently interpreted to mean only the geographical areas covered by the collective bargaining agreements, this Court notes that the minutes of a meeting of the fund's trustees on September 13, 1974, reflect that the trustees passed a resolution to submit the term "jurisdiction of the fund" to defendant's counsel for an interpretation of the term so that the trustees could define it.10 Also, it is significant that defendant accepted all hours of contributions while plaintiff was working "outside" of the jurisdiction of the fund. Further, it appears that defendant was aware that plaintiff was working outside of the State of Missouri.11

II.

This Court agrees with defendant that Section 302(c)(5) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 186(c)(5) only authorizes payments to a pension fund pursuant to a written agreement. See, Moglia v. Geoghegan, 403 F.2d 110 (2nd Cir. 1968); Denver Metro. Ass'n v. Journeyman Plumbers, 586 F.2d 1367 (10th Cir. 1978).

Here, there is no question that the necessary written agreements existed for the work plaintiff performed in the areas governed by the collective bargaining agreements obligating Koss.12 Defendant's argument is that for those periods that plaintiff worked outside of the areas delineated in the collective bargaining agreements, the contributions that Koss made on plaintiff's behalf were not under the collective bargaining agreements and thus not applicable to the eligibility requirements of the pension fund.

Essentially, this case involves a question of contract interpretation.13 The pension

519 F. Supp. 13
fund was established pursuant to an "Agreement and Declaration of Trust".14 The terms of the pension plan are spelled out in the document entitled "Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Plan".15 As conceded by defendant in its brief, the term "jurisdiction of the fund" is not defined in the plan.16 And similarly, the term...

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4 practice notes
  • Estate of Anderson v. Strohman, Civil Action No. GLR–13–3167.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 19 Marzo 2014
    ...the City exercised only limited control over the BPD and no control whatsoever over the actions of Baltimore police officers. Wilcher, 519 F.Supp. at 9. Similarly, the Court in Hector granted summary judgment in the City's favor after noting that no City official is responsible for training......
  • Simpson v. Simpson, No. WD 69810.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 6 Octubre 2009
    ...least in certain circumstances) an exception to the general rule. 789 S.W.2d at 120. 5. Citing Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Fund, 519 F.Supp. 9, 13 (W.D.Mo.1980), Son argues that Father "accepted prepayments from [Son] and, if there was not an express provision allowing prepayment in t......
  • Wilcher v. Curley, Civ. No. K-77-440
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 21 Julio 1981
    ...filed March 24, 1981, Commissioner Pomerleau stated: The training received by Baltimore City Police Officers is in full compliance 519 F. Supp. 9 with, and, exceeds the standards set for training by the Maryland Police Training Commission pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code, Article 41, Sec......
  • Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Plan, MO-KAN
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 9 Septiembre 1981
    ...After a careful review of the records and briefs, we affirm the district court. See Elvin P. Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Fund, 519 F.Supp. 9 (W.D.Mo.1980). We do so because we agree with the district court that the ambiguity in the trust and pension plan documents regarding the geogra......
4 cases
  • Estate of Anderson v. Strohman, Civil Action No. GLR–13–3167.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 19 Marzo 2014
    ...the City exercised only limited control over the BPD and no control whatsoever over the actions of Baltimore police officers. Wilcher, 519 F.Supp. at 9. Similarly, the Court in Hector granted summary judgment in the City's favor after noting that no City official is responsible for training......
  • Simpson v. Simpson, No. WD 69810.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 6 Octubre 2009
    ...least in certain circumstances) an exception to the general rule. 789 S.W.2d at 120. 5. Citing Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Fund, 519 F.Supp. 9, 13 (W.D.Mo.1980), Son argues that Father "accepted prepayments from [Son] and, if there was not an express provision allowing prepayment in t......
  • Wilcher v. Curley, Civ. No. K-77-440
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • 21 Julio 1981
    ...filed March 24, 1981, Commissioner Pomerleau stated: The training received by Baltimore City Police Officers is in full compliance 519 F. Supp. 9 with, and, exceeds the standards set for training by the Maryland Police Training Commission pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code, Article 41, Sec......
  • Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Plan, MO-KAN
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 9 Septiembre 1981
    ...After a careful review of the records and briefs, we affirm the district court. See Elvin P. Evans v. Mo-Kan Teamsters Pension Fund, 519 F.Supp. 9 (W.D.Mo.1980). We do so because we agree with the district court that the ambiguity in the trust and pension plan documents regarding the geogra......

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