United States District Court, D. Minnesota
R. Thomas Erickson, et al., Plaintiffs,
AmeriCold Logistics, LLC, et al., Defendants.
C. Atmore, Esq. and Leonard, O'Brien, Spencer, Gale &
Sayre, LTD, counsel for plaintiffs.
Deborah A. Ellingboe, Esq., Isaac B. Hall, Esq. and Faegre
Baker Daniels, LLP, counsel for defendants Jerry's
Enterprises, Inc. and SuperValu, Inc.
J. McGowan, Jr., Esq. and Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Mary L.
Knoblauch, Esq. and Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie, PA,
counsel for cross-claimant Sysco Minnesota, Inc.
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss by
defendants SuperValu Inc. and Jerry's Enterprises, Inc.
Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings
herein, and for the following reasons, the motion is granted.
ERISA dispute arises out of the Minneapolis Food Distributed
Industry Pension Fund Trust Agreement (Trust Agreement).
Under the terms of the Trust Agreement, four trustees are
appointed to represent the employers of plan participants
(Employer Trustees) and four trustees are appointed to
represent the unions participating in the pension plan (Union
Trustees). Am. Compl. ¶ 9. Teamsters Local 120, pursuant
to its internal appointment procedures, select the Union
Trustees. Id. ¶ 10; Pet. Ex. 1, Trust Agreement
§ 4.8. Employer Trustees are selected by
“Employers of a majority of Participants.” Trust
Agreement § 4.8. “Participants” are defined
as “[a]ny Employee or former Employee who is eligible
for benefits” under the Trust Agreement, id.
§ 1.4, but the Union's employees “shall not be
considered in connection with any determination required to
be made by Employers of a stated percentage or majority of
Employees.” Id. § 1.3.
Plaintiffs allege that on December 9,
2015, defendant SuperValu unilaterally removed the sitting
Employer Trustees and appointed new Employer Trustees,
contrary to the terms of the Trust Agreement. Am. Compl.
¶ 21. SuperValu, however, claimed that it had the right
to take such action because it employs a majority of the
Participants in the pension plan. Id. ¶ 20.
March 15, 2017, plaintiffs filed a petition in Hennepin
County District Court seeking judicial interpretation and
construction of the Trust Agreement. Defendants timely
removed, and the court denied plaintiffs' motion to
remand holding that ERISA preempted plaintiffs' state law
claims. See ECF No. 20. On November 30, 2017,
plaintiffs filed an amended complaint alleging that (1)
SuperValu breached its fiduciary obligation under ERISA by
failing to follow the terms of the Trust Agreement, and (2)
the remaining defendants breached their fiduciary obligations
under ERISA by acquiescing to SuperValu's violation of
the Trust Agreement. Plaintiffs seek relief pursuant to 29
U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3).
SuperValu and Jerry's Enterprises now jointly move to
dismiss, arguing that: (1) plaintiffs lack standing; (2) the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted; and (3) the Labor Management Relations Act precludes
the plaintiffs' claims.
III of the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction
of federal courts to justiciable cases and controversies.
U.S. Const. art. III, § 2; Lujan v. Defenders of
Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60 (1992). Standing is an
“essential and unchanging part of the
case-or-controversy requirement of Article III.”
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560. To satisfy Article III
standing requirements, a plaintiff must demonstrate:
(1) it has suffered an injury in fact that is (a) concrete
and particularized and (b) actual and imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly
traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and (3)
it is likely, as opposed to merely ...