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Resnick v. Schwartz

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 27, 2019

Dr. Alan RESNICK and Dr. James Thompson, derivatively, on behalf of the Associated Allergists & Asthma, Ltd. Defined Benefit Pension Plan & Trust; and Associated Allergists & Asthma, Ltd., Plaintiffs,
v.
Dr. Donald SCHWARTZ; Ronald Spitz; and Ronald Spitz and Associates, Inc., Defendants.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          George Constantine Pontikes, George C. Pontikes & Associates, P.C., Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs.

          Joseph G. Krcmar, Damon Newman, John P. Prusik, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Chicago, IL, for Defendant Dr. Donald Schwartz.

          James D. Harbert, Arsalan Ali Nayani, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Chicago, IL, for Defendants Ronald Spitz, Ronald Spitz and Associates, Inc.

         MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         Honorable Edmond E. Chang, United States District Judge.

         Over 17 years ago, Dr. Donald Schwartz withdrew, in a lump sum, over $800,000 in benefits from his pension-plan account with Associated Allergists. R. 29, Corr. Am. Compl. at 3 ¶ 2.[1] But he should not have taken a lump sum: under federal pension-benefits law (known by its acronym, ERISA), Dr. Schwartz was considered a "highly compensated" employee, so he was required to take annuity payments over time instead of a lump-sum payment. Id. at 3 ¶ 3. Eventually, the Plan's current fiduciaries, Drs. Alan Resnick and James Thompson, brought suit against both Dr. Schwartz and the Plan's then-actuaries, Ronald Spitz and Ronald Spitz and Associates[2] (collectively the Defendants), alleging ERISA violations as well as Illinois state claims. See Corr. Am. Compl. at 12-22.[3]

         Earlier in the case, both Dr. Schwartz and the Spitz Defendants independently moved to dismiss the claims against them. R. 32, Spitz's Mot. Dismiss Br.; R. 36-1 Schwartz's Mot. Dismiss Br. As relevant here, Schwartz argued that the Plaintiffs' claims were barred by ERISA's three-year statute of limitations. The Court agreed with Schwartz in general, but nevertheless denied Schwartz's motion to dismiss because the fraudulent-concealment exception to ERISA's statute of limitations might apply. Whether the exception applied, though, could not be resolved at the pleading stage, so the Court allowed the parties to take discovery on that limited issue. After the parties finished the limited discovery, the Defendants moved for summary judgment, R. 87, Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., and the Plaintiffs cross-moved against the limitations defense, R. 89, Pls.' Mot. Summ. J. For the reasons discussed below, the Defendants' motion is granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         This Opinion assumes familiarity with the facts described in the prior opinion

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that decided the Defendants' motions to dismiss. R. 61, 9/3/18 Opinion at 2-6; Resnick v. Schwartz, 2018 WL 4191525, at *1-2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 3, 2018). In deciding the motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Because both parties have both moved for summary judgment, the Court will consider the ...


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