Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Key v. Unicare

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

June 15, 2017

MARY KEY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNICARE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge

         The following opinion sorts out just one of many strands in the tapestry of this litigation. The pertinent thread relates to the Ford Motor Company-UAW Retirement Plan Board of Administration's effort to recoup an overpayment made to Mary Key, a former employee of the Ford Motor Company. Key takes issue with the Retirement Board's refusal to grant her hardship treatment and, as a result, filed a denial-of-benefits claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. In response, the Retirement Board counterclaimed for recoupment of the overpayment at issue. Now, Ford and the Retirement Board move for summary judgment on each claim. Key opposes that motion. For the following reasons, Ford and the Retirement Board's Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 30], is GRANTED.

         I.

         A.

         Mary Key was an employee of the Ford Motor Company (“Ford”). In January 2014, the Ford Motor Company-UAW Retirement Plan Board of Administration (“Retirement Board”) approved her application for disability retirement benefits to commence effective August 1, 2013 in the amount of $994.52 per month. [A.R. at 90, 144.]

         In April 2014, Key wrote a letter to the Retirement Board in which she notified it that her claim for Social Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) benefits had been denied. [Id. at 197.] She requested that the Retirement Board provide her with temporary benefits pending resolution of her claim for SSDI. [Id.]

         A temporary benefit under the UAW-Ford Retirement Plan (“Plan”) operates as an advance to aid a claimant while his or her SSDI claim is pending. Under the Plan, a temporary benefit is payable only if the claimant

provide[s] evidence that [she has] applied for Social Security Disability benefits and [the] application was denied. This benefit begins when [the claimant] retires . . . . If [the claimant] become[s] eligible to receive a Social Security disability benefit . . ., [the] Temporary Benefit stops.

[R. 29-2 at 25 (Summary Plan Description).] If the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) ultimately approves the SSDI claim, then the claimant must repay the temporary benefit within thirty days of written notice of the SSDI award. [Id. at 26.] Should the claimant fail to do so, the Retirement Board retains the right to recoup the amount overdue from the claimant's future benefit payments. [Id.]

         Key supplied the necessary proof that her SSDI claim had been denied in April 2014. [A.R. at 183.] Accordingly, the Retirement Board recalculated her monthly benefits to include a temporary benefit payment. [Id.] The temporary benefit payment was for an additional $274.58 in August 2013, which increased to $945.76 for each subsequent month. [Id. at 90.] Between August 2013 and June 2015, the Retirement Board paid Key a temporary benefit payment totaling $21, 081.30. [Id.]

         The Retirement Board ceased making the temporary benefit payment once the SSA approved Key's SSDI claim. [Id. at 177-79.] On May 4, 2015, the SSA advised that Key would receive a check for $39, 445.20 for past-due benefits. [Id. at 177.] On July 1, the Retirement Board wrote a letter to Key notifying her that she must repay the temporary benefit overpayment no later than August 15, 2015. [Id. at 90.] If she did not do so, the Retirement Board informed Key that it would withhold one-half of her future monthly benefit payments until it recouped the balance. [Id.]

         Instead of paying the balance, Key filed a hardship appeal on July 27, 2015. [Id. at 171-76.] The appeals process became somewhat complicated by, among other things, Key's failure to file additional requested information. [Id. at 170.] Ultimately, on September 20, 2016, the Retirement Board denied the hardship appeal. [Id. at 5-6.] It concluded that Key had “sufficient assets, ” such as $103, 837.16 in a Tax-Efficient Savings Plan for Hourly Employees account, “to pay the overpayment.” [Id. at 5, 9.]

         B.

         On August 19, 2015, Key filed this action against, inter alia, Ford and the Retirement Board. [R. 1-1 at 5, ¶¶ 3-4 (Complaint).] Although not entirely clear from the complaint, she appears to bring a denial-of-benefits claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. [Id. at 7, ΒΆΒΆ 27-29.] Ford and the Retirement Board responded with a counterclaim for recoupment of the overpayment. [R. 9 at 5 (Counterclaim).] Now, Ford and the Retirement ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.