United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. Judge
the Court is Defendants' motion  to dismiss
Plaintiffs ERISA claim . The Court had previously
dismissed two of Plaintiff s complaints without prejudice.
See , . For the reasons set forth below,
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs ERISA claim 
is granted with prejudice. Plaintiffs state law claim for
tortious interference is dismissed without prejudice,
allowing Plaintiff to file that claim in state court pursuant
to 735 ILCS 5/13-217.
Plaintiff Robert Trujillo ("Plaintiff) filed his initial
complaint against Defendants the American Bar Association
("ABA") and John Krsul in December 2013. In that
complaint, Plaintiff sought "equitable monetary relief
under ERISA against both Defendants based on his wrongful
termination from his position at the ABA. , Compl. ¶
22(B). Plaintiff also sought compensatory and punitive
damages for Krsul's alleged tortious interference with
Plaintiffs employment relationship with the ABA. Id.
at ¶ 22(D). The Court dismissed Plaintiffs ERISA claim
without prejudice because Plaintiff was not seeking
"appropriate equitable relief required under §
1132(a)(3).  at 9-10. Plaintiff did not sufficiently
allege that the money he sought was equitable; rather, he
only sought compensatory damages. Id. After
dismissing Plaintiffs only federal claim, the Court declined
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law
tortious interference claim. Id. at 10-11.
then filed an amended complaint . Plaintiff continued to
seek compensatory damages. The Court found yet again that
Plaintiff had failed to establish that the relief he sought
was equitable. The Court highlighted the difference between
equitable relief and compensatory damages, which fit
"the classic form of legal relief and consequently are
unavailable under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3). Mertens v.
Hewitt Assocs., 508 U.S. 248, 256 (1993). Plaintiff also
brought a tortious interference claim, which the Court held
to be colorable and sufficient to state a claim. Plaintiff
has since filed a second amended complaint.
Court set forth the alleged facts in detail in its previous
two memorandum opinions and those allegations remain
unchanged. Defendant ABA sponsors an employee pension plan
("the Plan") that is governed by the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA").
This made the ABA a fiduciary to the Plan. Id.
Defendant John Krsul, who is an ABA member but not an ABA
employee, chaired the A-E-F-C Pension Plan Administrative
Committee ("Committee"). The Committee is the named
fiduciary of the Plan; as chair of the Committee, Krsul also
qualifies as a fiduciary of the Plan.
Robert Trujillo was hired by the ABA in June 2010 to serve as
a program director in its Human Resources Department. In May
2011, the Committee appointed Plaintiff to serve as
Administrator of the Plan; this made Plaintiff a fiduciary of
the Plan. This role was distinct from and in addition to
Plaintiffs role as HR program director.
Administrator, Plaintiff alerted the ABA and Krsul to
problems the Plan's record keeping and to overpayments
and miscalculations of participant benefits. Plaintiff
alleges that once he brought this to the attention of the
Defendants, an organized campaign commenced intended to
remove him from his job. Krsul emailed the ABA's Chief
Financial Officer to ask "whether there was anything
going on with the Plaintiff professionally that he should be
aware of as the Committee Chair." Krsul proposed the
outsourcing of the administration of the Plan, including
Plaintiffs role as Plan Administrator. Plaintiff was
subsequently removed from his role as Plan Administrator.
Following his removal, Plaintiff was demoted and finally
terminated by the ABA in June 2013 from his job in the
ABA's HR department.
second amended complaint, Plaintiff brings two claims: (1)
the first claim, pursuant to Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, 29
U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), alleges retaliation and discharge
of Plaintiff as Plan Administrator; and (2) the second is an
Illinois tortious interference claim against Defendant Krsul.
See  at 2. Plaintiff asks the Court for the following
relief: (a) reinstatement to his role as Plan Administrator;
(b) all applicable Plan Administrator compensation owed plus
interest from the date of Plaintiffs removal; (c) whatever
equitable relief the Court deems proper should the Defendants
refuse to reinstate Plaintiff; (d) monetary compensation for
Defendant Krsul's tortious interference with Plaintiffs
employment with Defendant ABA; (e) costs pursuant to 29
U.S.C. § 1132(g); and (f) any other relief the Court
deems proper. See Id. at 17.
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint
first must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that
the defendant is given "fair notice of what the * * *
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell
Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Second,
the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient
to raise the possibility of relief above the
"speculative level." E.E.O.C. v. Concentra
Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "A pleading that
offers 'labels and conclusions' or a 'formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). However,
"[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only give the defendant fair notice of what the * * * claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555) (ellipsis in original). Dismissal for failure to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper "when the
allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a
claim of entitlement to relief." Twombly, 550 U.S. at
558. The Court reads the complaint and assesses its
plausibility as a whole. See Atkins v. City of
Chicago, 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011).
limits the types of relief available to a potential
plaintiff. In its previous opinion , the Court made clear
that Plaintiff would be unable to seek compensatory damages,
as they were unavailable under § 1132(a)(3). Section
1132(a)(3) "authorizes only a limited range of remedies,
raising a threshold question as to whether the relief
[Plaintiff] demands is authorized." Mondry v.
American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 557 F.3d 781, 804 (7th
Cir. 2009). Specifically, the statute provides that a
fiduciary may bring a civil action:
(A) to enjoin any act or practice which violates any
provision of this subchapter or the terms of the plan, or (B)
to obtain other appropriate equitable relief (i) to redress
such violations or (ii) to enforce any provisions ...