United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Brown UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Metso Minerals Industries, Inc.'s motion to
dismiss, Doc. #3; and Mark LaBouve's motion for summary
judgment, Doc. #16.
3, 2017, Mark LaBouve filed a complaint in this Court against
Metso Minerals Industries, Inc. alleging breach of contract
and breach of fiduciary duty based on Metso's refusal to
pay him certain benefits under its pension plan governed by
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(“ERISA”). Doc. #1. On July 26, 2017, Metso filed
a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Doc. #3. LaBouve timely responded, Doc.
#13; and Metso timely replied, Doc. #21.
same day he responded to Metso's motion to dismiss,
LaBouve filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. #16. Metso
timely responded to the summary judgment motion. Doc. #25.
LaBouve did not reply.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint does
not need detailed factual allegations, but it must provide
the plaintiff's grounds for entitlement for
relief-including factual allegations that, when assumed to be
true, raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Ruiz v. Brennan, 851 F.3d
464, 468 (5th Cir. 2017) (citing Taylor v. City of
Shreveport, 798 F.3d 276, 279 (5th Cir. 2015)). Under
this standard, a court must “accept all well-pleaded
facts as true.” New Orleans City v. Ambac Assur.
Corp., 815 F.3d 196, 199-200 (5th Cir. 2016) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
employee of Metso, LaBouve participated in Metso's
ERISA-governed pension plan. Doc. #1 at ¶¶ 4, 7-8.
At some point during his employment with Metso, LaBouve was
injured on the job. Id. at ¶ 12. On January 29,
2014, LaBouve and Metso executed a “Global Settlement
Agreement and General Release”
(“Agreement”), which settled, among other things,
LaBouve's worker's compensation claim. Id. at
¶¶ 12-13; Doc. #1-2. Pursuant to the Agreement,
LaBouve received from Metso $190, 000.00 related to his
worker's compensation claim and $3, 750.00 related to his
other pending claims, and LaBouve's counsel received $1,
250.00. Doc. #1-2 at ¶ 4. The Agreement includes a
“Waiver and Release of Claims” provision.
Id. at ¶ 7.
after the Agreement's execution, LaBouve requested
disability benefits and, in the alternative, retirement
benefits he believed were rightfully due to him under
Metso's pension plan. Doc. #1 at ¶ 14. On February
19, 2016, Metso denied LaBouve's request based on the
“Waiver and Release of Claims” provision in the
Agreement. Id. at ¶ 15. Thereafter, on July 3,
2017, LaBouve filed this lawsuit seeking the “full
amount of his Disability Benefits and/or Retirement
Benefits.” Id. at 4.
explained above, LaBouve's complaint asserts claims for
breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Metso seeks
dismissal of both claims.
Breach of Contract
concedes that LaBouve is entitled to his retirement benefits
upon attaining the age of sixty-five, or may apply for
reduced-rate retirement benefits before reaching the age of
sixty-five. Doc. #21 at 5-6 & n.1. Accordingly, the Court
will only consider whether LaBouve has sufficiently stated a
claim for disability benefits. In that regard, the sole issue
is whether LaBouve, by executing the Agreement,
released his right to disability benefits under
Metso's pension plan.