The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alesia, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is defendants Laidlaw, Inc. and American
Medical Response, Inc.'s motion to dismiss plaintiff Jim Leo's
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
For the following reasons, the court grants defendants' motion to
The complaint alleges the following facts which, for the
purpose of ruling on defendants' motion to dismiss, are taken as
true. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct.
2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984). Defendants Laidlaw, Inc. and American
Medical Response, Inc. are related corporations. Before December
1, 1996, defendants established a Group Health Care Coverage Plan
("the Plan") for their employees. Defendants were the
administrators of the Plan. Defendants contracted with Aetna Life
Insurance Co. ("Aetna") to be an agent for defendants as the
Before December 14, 1996, plaintiff Jim Leo ("Leo") was an
employee of defendant and was entitled to coverage under the
Plan. On December 14, 1996, Leo resigned as an employee. After he
resigned, Leo was entitled to continued coverage under the Plan
pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
("COBRA"), which is a part of the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
On or before December 31, 1996, defendants delivered Leo a
written notice ("the notice") that incorrectly informed him that
by complying with the applicant requirements set forth in the
notice, Leo's rights to healthcare benefits under the Plan would
continue with Chicago HMO. Defendants enclosed a form with the
notice that Leo was to fill out and mail back if he elected to
continue coverage. On December 31, 1996, Leo filled out the
applicant section of the form and signed it. Shortly after doing
so, he mailed the form and the fee for the initial monthly
premium to Aetna as he was directed to do by defendants. Aetna
received the form before the due date. Since the time that he had
elected to continue coverage, Leo made timely payments of his
required premium payment to Aetna.
On February 12, 1998, Aetna sent Leo a COBRA notice which
incorrectly notified him that he had medical coverage with
Chicago HMO. On March 12, 1998, Aetna notified Leo that he had no
medical coverage. On June 25, 1998, Aetna notified Leo that he
did have medical coverage with Aetna U.S. Healthcare and not his
elected Chicago HMO.
As a result of the above, Leo was deprived of knowledge of his
medical insurance rights for the full term of its existence. In
addition, Leo had to hire an attorney to investigate and advise
him of his rights to represent him in pursuit of his rights.
On November 2, 1998, Leo filed suit against defendants in this
court for violation of his COBRA rights. This court has subject
matter jurisdiction over the case pursuant to
29 U.S.C. § 1132(e). In his complaint, Leo requests the following relief: (1)
a refund of the premiums that he paid; (2) $110 per day for
defendants "failure to notify him of his Cobra medical insurance
rights for 541 days"; (3) costs, disbursements, and reasonable
attorney's fees; and (4) any other relief that this court deems
On January 4, 1999, defendants filed a motion to dismiss,
arguing that (1) Leo does not have standing to sue under ERISA
and (2) Leo's allegations fail to state a claim under ERISA. The
court addresses defendants' motion below.
A. Standard for deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
When deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must accept all factual allegations
in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in
favor of the plaintiff. Cromley v. Board of Educ. of Lockport,
699 F. Supp. 1283, 1285 (N.D.Ill. 1988). If, when viewed in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must
dismiss the case. See FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6); Gomez v. Illinois
State Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987).
However, the court may dismiss the complaint only if it appears
beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).
Even under the liberal notice pleading standard of the ...