Taylor v. General Motors Corp., No. 81-40304.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
Writing for the CourtNEWBLATT
Citation588 F. Supp. 562
Decision Date17 May 1984
Docket NumberNo. 81-40304.
PartiesArthur TAYLOR, Plaintiff, v. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, a foreign corporation and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a foreign corporation, jointly and severally, Defendants.

588 F. Supp. 562

Arthur TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, a foreign corporation and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a foreign corporation, jointly and severally, Defendants.

No. 81-40304.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, S.D.

May 17, 1984.


588 F. Supp. 563

James A. Brescoll, Mount Clemens, Mich., for plaintiff.

David M. Davis, Detroit, Mich., Gilbert Y. Rubenstein, Flint, Mich., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

NEWBLATT, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on defendant Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's (Metropolitan) renewed motion for a separate trial, Metropolitan's renewed motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of disability benefits for a back condition raised in Count II, Metropolitan's renewed motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of disability benefits for a psychological condition raised in Count II, and defendant General Motors Corporation's (GM) motion for summary judgment on Counts I and III. Because of the disposition of Metropolitan's two motions for partial summary judgment, the Court need not address Metropolitan's motion for a separate trial.

Plaintiff filed this cause of action in Wayne County Circuit Court on March 13, 1981. On March 24, 1981, GM, with the concurrence of Metropolitan, properly removed the case to this court, citing the Employee Retirement Insurance Security Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a), as the basis of jurisdiction. This Court permitted plaintiff to amend his complaint on October 10, 1983, and on October 24, 1983, plaintiff filed his first amended complaint, alleging in Count I that GM failed to promote plaintiff and finally terminated him on November 5, 1980 in retaliation for his filing workers' compensation claims against GM in 1964, and for exercising his rights under the "Open Door" policy, asserting in Count II that Metropolitan had breached its insurance contract with plaintiff by refusing to award him disability benefits for a back injury and psychological problems, and claiming in Count III that plaintiff had been discharged in breach of his employment contract.

FACTS

Plaintiff commenced salaried employment with GM as a 5th level Engineering Analyst in the Fisher Body Division on June 25, 1959. He was promoted to 6th level Quality Control Analyst on September 1, 1959, and on March 1, 1960, plaintiff was promoted to 7th level Senior Engineer and transferred to the Chevrolet Central Office.

On March 31, 1960, plaintiff entered into an employment contract with GM, which provided in pertinent part:

* * * * * *
2. The Employee acknowledges that his employment under this agreement is from month to month only on a calendar month basis.
6. The Employer and the Employe acknowledge that there are no other arrangements, agreements, or understandings, verbal or in writing, regarding same and that any modification or amendment hereof, other than a cancellation and replacement hereof by another written form of agreement, must be endorsed hereon in writing and initialed by both the Employe and the Employer.

The contract also specified that pay would be determined by a Compensation Statement periodically signed by plaintiff. See GM's Ex. A. In April of 1961, plaintiff was given a copy of the employee handbook "Working With General Motors" which

588 F. Supp. 564
mentioned GM's policy of filling vacancies by promoting from within whenever possible and which also outlined GM's "Open Door" policy. See plaintiff's Ex. 2. Plaintiff received a new edition of "Working With General Motors" in September of 1977. See GM's Ex. N

While visiting a GM facility in Framingham, Massachusetts for GM in August of 1961, plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident in which he suffered a back injury. Plaintiff makes unsubstantiated claims that because of his accident, he was treated badly on the job. Following plaintiff's return to work after the accident, he was given an appraisal of D3. See plaintiff's Ex. 1. Plaintiff's injury became the subject of a worker's compensation claim which was ultimately resolved in November of 1966 through plaintiff's exercise of the "Open Door" policy. See GM's Ex. 1 and 2.

During the period from 1966 through 1974 plaintiff received appraisals of B1 and B2. Plaintiff's Ex. 1. Plaintiff continued employment through May 20, 1980. Between 1966 and 1980, plaintiff exercised his rights under the "Open Door" policy numerous times by writing letters expressing an interest in promotion and transfer to a warmer climate. Plaintiff was neither transferred nor promoted. See GM's Ex. 3-11.

Plaintiff submitted a Statement of Claim for Sickness and Accident benefits to Metropolitan on June 2, 1980. The Claim was signed by Andrew T. Yang, Ph.D., who stated that plaintiff was suffering from situational anxiety reaction. Aff. of Richard J. Prunty, Ex. A. In a letter from Dr. Yang to Stephen A. Evanoff, D.O., plaintiff's physician for back problems, Dr. Yang suggested that plaintiff might also be suffering disc problems. On the very day the claim was received, Metropolitan clerk C. Newton notified the Administrator of the Employee Benefit Plan that Dr. Yang held a Ph.D. degree and was not a licensed physician. Ms. Newton then scheduled a psychiatric examination for plaintiff on June 11, 1980 at 1:30 p.m. Aff. of Prunty, Ex. B. On June 5, 1980, Norb Leonard of Metropolitan told Ms. Newton that benefits could be awarded under the certification of a Ph.D. holder only if a psychiatrist concurred in the Ph.D's findings of disability. Furthermore, benefits could not be awarded for a back problem without proof that plaintiff was being seen and treated by a physician for the back problem. Aff. of Prunty, Ex. C.

Plaintiff was examined by Metropolitan's psychiatrist, Dr. Forrer, who found plaintiff unable to work. However, six weeks later, Dr. Forrer stated that plaintiff could return to work. Aff. of Prunty, Ex. F. Plaintiff then filed a Supplementary Claim Form seeking disability benefits for orthopedic reasons. Aff. of Prunty, Ex. G. Plaintiff was placed on Special Leave of Absence Without Pay pending a determination of his alleged disability. Aff. of Prunty, Ex. H. Finally, on...

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5 practice notes
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Taylor General Motors Corporation v. Taylor, Nos. 85-686
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1987
    ...The District Court found the case properly removable and granted Page 62 General Motors and Metropolitan summary judgment on the merits. 588 F.Supp. 562 (ED Mich.1984). The Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the District Court lacked removal jurisdiction. 763 F.2d 216 (CA6 1985). ......
  • Providence Hosp. v. National Labor Union Health and Welfare Fund, Docket No. 93298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • October 1, 1987
    ...remaining state claims. The district court found the case properly removable and granted the defendants summary judgment on the merits. 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D.Mich.1984). The Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the district court lacked removal jurisdiction. 763 F.2d 216 (C.A.6, 1985......
  • Douglass v. Weyerhaeuser Co., No. CV 86-8214-ER (Kx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • June 8, 1987
    ...he was entitled. Defendants removed the suit to federal court on March 24, 1981 claiming that ERISA preempted his state law claims. (See 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D. Mich.1984)). The district court held that removal was proper and granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the merits. The ......
  • Taylor v. General Motors Corp., No. 84-1503
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1987
    ...and discharge "for cause only" policies. The district court granted defendants summary judgment. See Taylor v. General Motors Corp., 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D.Mich.1984). We reversed this decision, holding that the controversy should have been remanded to district court, because we held that rem......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Taylor General Motors Corporation v. Taylor, Nos. 85-686
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1987
    ...The District Court found the case properly removable and granted Page 62 General Motors and Metropolitan summary judgment on the merits. 588 F.Supp. 562 (ED Mich.1984). The Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the District Court lacked removal jurisdiction. 763 F.2d 216 (CA6 1985). ......
  • Providence Hosp. v. National Labor Union Health and Welfare Fund, Docket No. 93298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • October 1, 1987
    ...remaining state claims. The district court found the case properly removable and granted the defendants summary judgment on the merits. 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D.Mich.1984). The Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the district court lacked removal jurisdiction. 763 F.2d 216 (C.A.6, 1985......
  • Douglass v. Weyerhaeuser Co., No. CV 86-8214-ER (Kx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • June 8, 1987
    ...he was entitled. Defendants removed the suit to federal court on March 24, 1981 claiming that ERISA preempted his state law claims. (See 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D. Mich.1984)). The district court held that removal was proper and granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on the merits. The ......
  • Taylor v. General Motors Corp., No. 84-1503
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 14, 1987
    ...and discharge "for cause only" policies. The district court granted defendants summary judgment. See Taylor v. General Motors Corp., 588 F.Supp. 562 (E.D.Mich.1984). We reversed this decision, holding that the controversy should have been remanded to district court, because we held that rem......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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