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RHEE v. WITCO CORP.

March 14, 1991

YOUNG RHEE, Plaintiff,
v.
WITCO CORPORATION, formerly known as WITCO CHEMICAL CORPORATION, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Before the court is defendant Witco Corporation's motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted.

 FACTS

 Plaintiff Young Rhee ("Rhee") was employed for 21 years by defendant Witco Corporation ("Witco") and its predecessor, at a company facility in Lemont, Illinois. Sometime in 1985, Witco sold its Lemont facility and allegedly promised to retain Rhee at it's Blue Island, Illinois facility. On July 31, 1985, Witco discharged Rhee and informed him that he was to work for the new owners of the Lemont facility rather than to continue with Witco at Blue Island.

 At the time of his discharge, Rhee was a participant in Witco's employee benefit plans, in which he had accrued 21 years of service credits. Rhee alleges that Witco discharged him in order to save itself the "expense of continuing said benefits for Plaintiff and paying said benefits to Plaintiff." Amended Complaint, para. 14. Rhee claims that by discharging him for this reason, Witco caused him to lose service related benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. Rhee also alleges that Witco is liable to him for statutory penalties under ERISA because it failed fully to comply with his requests for plan documents.

 DISCUSSION

 On a motion to dismiss, the allegations of the complaint as well as the reasonable inferences to be drawn from them are taken as true. Doe v. St. Joseph's Hosp., 788 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1986). However, the court need not strain to find inferences favorable to the plaintiff which are not apparent on the face of the complaint. Coates v. Illinois State Board of Education, 559 F.2d 445, 447 (7th Cir. 1977). The plaintiff need not set out in detail the facts upon which a claim is based, but must allege sufficient facts to outline the cause of action. Id. The complaint must state either direct or inferential allegations concerning all of the material elements necessary for recovery under the relevant legal theory. Mescall v. Burrus, 603 F.2d 1266 (7th Cir. 1979). The court is not required to accept legal conclusions either alleged or inferred from pleaded facts. Carl Sandburg Village Condominium Ass'n No. 1 v. First Condominium Development Co., 758 F.2d 203, 207 (7th Cir. 1985). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is improper unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Papapetropoulous v. Milwaukee Transport Services, Inc., 795 F.2d 591, 594 (7th Cir. 1986).

 Witco's motion to dismiss contains numerous arguments attacking various aspects of Rhee's amended complaint. One of Witco's arguments is that Rhee's amended complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to establish his standing to invoke the provisions of ERISA. Because the court finds the standing issue dispositive, it does not address any of the other issues raised in Witco's motion to dismiss.

 The statutory provision upon which Rhee bases his amended complaint is 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B). See Amended Complaint, para. 8. This provision states:

 
(a) Persons empowered to bring a civil action
 
A civil action may be brought-
 
(1) by a participant or ...

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