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Kough v. Teamsters' Local 301 Pension Plan

February 8, 2008

THOMAS KOUGH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TEAMSTERS' LOCAL 301 PENSION PLAN, TRUSTEES OF TEAMSTERS' LOCAL 301 PENSION PLAN, AND MICHAEL HAFFNER, PLAN ADMINISTRATOR, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. BACKGROUND

This is an ERISA action in which Plaintiff is seeking a disability pension. On July 24, 2007, I granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment, finding that Defendant's decision to deny Plaintiff's disability pension was not arbitrary and capricious because Plaintiff had failed to satisfy the criteria set forth in Defendant's plan. Specifically, I determined that the Plan requires an individual to submit a Social Security Administration (SSA) award as a precondition to being awarded a disability pension. Because Mr. Kough failed to submit an SSA award in connection with his 2005 condition, I found that he had failed to comply with the Plan's requirements.

Thereafter, Plaintiff appealed my decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. During the pendency of his appeal, Plaintiff sought further information from the SSA. In response to his request, Plaintiff received a Report of Confidential Social Security Benefit Information dated August 13, 2007. That report stated, in part, that "On 4/4/06 a continuing disability review was completed and he was found to still be disabled basis [sic] on a diagnosis of disorders of back (discogenic and degenerative) and other disorders of the nervous system / neurological conditions." Relying on this report, Plaintiff had made a motion under Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for relief from my entry of judgment for Defendant. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks relief under Rule 60(b)(2), 60(b)(5) and 60(b)(6). Plaintiff argues that this report is sufficient evidence of an SSA award. Because, as noted above, my ruling was premised on the lack of an SSA award, Plaintiff argues that he is now entitled to relief from the grant of summary judgment.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Motion under Rule 60(b)(2) is Denied Because He Fails to Establish Requisite Due Diligence

Plaintiff's motion under Rule 60(b)(2) is denied because Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the "newly discovered evidence" upon which he seeks to rely would not have been discoverable by him prior to the grant of summary judgment. Rule 60(b)(2) permits a court to "relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for . . . (2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b)." Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2). The rule "is an extraordinary remedy that is to be granted only in exceptional circumstances." Jones v. Lincoln Elec. Co., 188 F.3d 709, 732 (7th Cir. 1999) (quoting Provident Sav. Bank v. Popovich, 71 F.3d 696, 698 (7th Cir. 1995)).

The Seventh Circuit has set forth a series of eight prerequisites a movant must establish in order to prevail on a 60(b)(2) motion:

(1) the evidence was in existence at the time [summary judgment was granted] or pertains to facts in existence at the time [summary judgment was granted];

(2) it was discovered following [the grant of summary judgment];

(3) due diligence on the part of the movant to discover the new evidence is shown or may be inferred;

(4) the evidence is admissible;

(5) it is credible;

(6) the new evidence is ...


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