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Jump v. Speedway, LLC

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 15, 2014

Stewart P. Jump, Plaintiff,
v.
Speedway, LLC, SuperAmerica, Northern Tier Energy, LP, and Northern Tier Retail, LLC, Defendants

Page 1025

For Stewart P. Jump, Plaintiff: Donald Chance Mark, Jr, Peter A T Carlson, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Andrew T James, Fafinski Mark & Johnson, P.A., Eden Prairie, MN.

For Northern Tier Retail, LLC, Northern Tier Energy, LP, Defendants: Andrew J Holly, Forrest Tahdooahnippah, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Mpls, MN.

For Speedway, LLC, Defendant: Marko J Mrkonich, William E Parker, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Littler Mendelson P.C., Minneapolis, MN.

For SperAmerica, Defendant: Forrest Tahdooahnippah, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrew J Holly, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Mpls, MN.

Page 1026

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Paul A. Magnuson, United States District Court Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. For the reasons that follow, the Motions are granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Speedway LLC operated gas stations under the assumed name SuperAmerica until December 2011, when Defendants Northern Tier Energy, LP and Northern Tier Retail, LP [1] purchased Speedway's SuperAmerica stores.

Page 1027

Plaintiff Stewart Jump worked for Speedway in two of its SuperAmerica stores from 1990 to February 2012, most recently as a manager. When SuperAmerica stores transitioned to Northern Tier, Jump had to decide whether to retire from Speedway or terminate his employment with Speedway and become a Northern Tier employee. As a Speedway employee, Jump participated in the Speedway Health Plan (" Speedway Plan" ), which is a qualified plan under ERISA. Under the Speedway Plan, Jump would have been entitled to a subsidy to cover up to 80% of his premiums on retirement from Speedway.

The Northern Tier Energy LLC Employee Benefit Plan (" Northern Tier Plan" ), also a qualified ERISA plan, provides coverage for retirees between the ages of 55 and 65 who had ten or more years of service with Speedway. The parties agree that Jump's employment with Speedway counted towards the ten-year period and that he would be eligible to receive continuing health care coverage at group rates. Unlike the Speedway Plan, the Northern Tier Plan does not necessarily include a subsidy for retired employees.

In order to determine whether he should retire from Speedway before the transition of SuperAmerica stores to Northern Tier, Jump alleges that he attended benefits meetings and reviewed materials provided to him. (1st Consol. Compl. ¶ 24.) Jump claims that Northern Tier and Speedway misled him about the Northern Tier Plan's lack of subsidy. He claims that he would have simply retired from Speedway, rather than transition to Northern Tier, if he had known that he would not have been eligible for a subsidy under the Northern Tier Plan. Jump specifically alleges that Defendants intentionally misled him on two occasions.

First, in December 2010, Jump attended a company-wide meeting held to address the upcoming transition from Speedway to Northern Tier. At that meeting, Jump was provided with a document with the headings " FAQs Relating to Employment with Speedway SuperAmerica" and " FAQs Relating to Employment with Northern Tier Energy." [2] (Tahdooahnippah Decl. (Docket No. 56-1) Ex. B.) Jump alleges that Speedway and Northern Tier " jointly prepared" the document. (1st Consol. Compl. ¶ 27.) Both portions of the document answer the following question:

Will health coverage benefits still be available to employees who retire after age 55 and who have at least ten years of company service who will be working for Northern Tier Energy after the sale? Will retirees hired prior to 01/01/2004 still be eligible for the company subsidy up to 80% of the total cost until reaching age 65, or will something similar be offered from Northern Tier Energy for those people?

(Tahdooahnippah Decl. (Docket No. 56-1) Ex. B.)

In relevant part, the Speedway portion of the documents responds that

All SSA employees who retire after attaining age 55 and who ...

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