West
v.
Nexpress Solutions, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Second CircuitApr 20, 2010
372 Fed. Appx. 185 (2d Cir. 2010)

No. 09-4009-cv.

April 20, 2010.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of New York (Telesca, J.).

ON CONSIDERATION WHEREOF, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

J. Nelson Thomas (Cristina A. Douglass, on the brief), Thomas Solomon LLP, Rochester, N.Y., for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Meghan M. DiPasquale, Ward Norris Heller Reidy LLP, Rochester, N.Y., for Defendants-Appellees.

Present: PIERRE N. LEVAL, ROBERT A. KATZMANN, B.D. PARKER, Circuit Judges.


SUMMARY ORDER

Plaintiff-appellant Jennifer West appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York (Telesca, j.) entered September 11, 2009, granting defendants' motion for summary judgment, denying plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment, and dismissing plaintiffs complaint. We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts and procedural history of this case.

We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor. Burke v. Kodak Ret. Income Plan, 336 F.3d 103, 109 (2d Cir. 2003). Summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). In an ERISA action where, as here, "written plan documents confer upon a plan administrator the discretionary authority to determine eligibility, we will not disturb the administrator's ultimate conclusion unless it is `arbitrary and capricious.'" Hobson v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 574 F.3d 75, 82 (2d Cir. 2009) (quoting Pagan v. NYNEX Pension Plan, 52 F.3d 438, 441 (2d Cir. 1995)).

Upon consideration, and in light of these principles, we conclude that the district court properly granted defendants' summary judgment motion because the plan administrator did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying plaintiffs request for severance benefits. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court for substantially the same reasons as those articulated by that court.

Plaintiff nevertheless argues that the district court's judgment should be vacated because that court erred in refusing to allow discovery regarding an "abundance of disputed factual issues." PI. Brief at 24. We review such a refusal for abuse of discretion. See Gualandi v. Adams, 385 F.3d 236, 244-45 (2d Cir. 2004). Having carefully considered the record below and the parties' submissions to this Court, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it limited discovery to those matters relating to defendants' treatment of similarly situated employees.

Finally, plaintiff argues that the plan administrator's denial of benefits was improperly influenced by the administrator's "conflict of interest as evaluator and payor of benefits." Hobson, 574 F.3d at 83. Plaintiff raised this argument for the first time in her reply brief on appeal, however, and we thus decline to consider it here. See Diaz v. Paterson, 547 F.3d 88, 94-95 (2d Cir. 2008). Accordingly, defendants' motion to strike that portion of plaintiffs reply brief is hereby DENIED as moot.

We have considered the remainder of plaintiffs arguments and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.