United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
TERENCE C. KERN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Plaintiff William Manna's Motion for
Judgment or Motion to Reopen Cause for Entry of Judgment
Awarding Benefits (Docs. 82-83) and Motion for Attorney Fees
(Doc. 76). Defendant Phillips 66 Severance Pay Plan opposes
Motion for Judgment or Motion to Reopen Cause for Entry of
Judgment (Docs. 82-83)
27, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint, asserting claims
against Defendant Phillips 66 Company
(“Phillips”) for discrimination in violation of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”),
violation of the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and
Alcohol Testing Act (“OSWDATA”), and retaliation
in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”). (Doc. 2). A year later, on July 25,
2017, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint, adding the
Phillips 66 Severance Pay Plan (“Plan”) and
asserting a claim for severance benefits under the Employment
Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”). (Doc.
January 7, 2018, following full briefing of the issues raised
in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Court entered its
Opinion and Order, granting summary judgment to Phillips on
all claims asserted against it, but reversing and remanding
the Plan's decision denying Plaintiff's request for
severance benefits. (Doc. 68). In its Opinion and Order, the
Court found that the Plan's decision to deny
Plaintiff's claim for severance pay was “arbitrary
and capricious, ” and it ordered that Plaintiff's
claim for benefits be remanded to the Plan for further
findings and explanation. Id. The Opinion and Order
was silent on the issue of whether Plaintiff was entitled to
severance benefits. Id.
the Plan filed a Motion to Amend and Clarify the Court's
Judgment of January 17, 2018, seeking clarification on the
question of whether the Court had determined conclusively
that Plaintiff was entitled to severance pay from the Plan or
had referred that determination to the Plan for
reconsideration in light of the Court's Opinion and
Order. Doc. 70 at 1. On February 2, 2018, the Court entered
an Amended Judgment, in which it stated, inter alia,
“The Plan's decision denying Plaintiff's claim
for severance pay benefits is reversed and remanded to the
Plan for further proceedings, including consideration of
whether Plaintiff is entitled to severance pay benefits,
consistent with the Court's Opinion and Order of January
17, 2018.” Doc. 71. In a footnote, the Court
stated, “This Amended Judgment is entered to clarify
that the court has not directed the Plan to find that
Plaintiff is entitled to severance pay.” Id.
February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Clarify
Judgment or Enforce Judgment, in which he stated that he had
“inquired with the Defendant Plan as to a decision to
process severance pay benefits, ” but had not received
any communication of any nature from the Plan. (Doc. 75).
However, on March 8, 2018, Plaintiff received notification by
mail that the Plan had denied his benefit request on remand.
Doc. 82. Accordingly, he seeks review of the Plan's
denial of the benefit request. Id.
to the provisions of ERISA, the Plan is a welfare plan. AR 2.
Under the terms of the Plan, “a Participant is eligible
to receive benefits under this Plan and does not have a
Disqualifying Circumstance.” AR 8-9. The Plan provides
• “[a] Participant has all Qualifying
Circumstances if . . . [h]e has a Layoff on or after May 1,
2012.” AR 9.
• “the term ‘Layoff' or ‘Laid
Off” applies if . . . Phillips 66 Company
(“Phillips 66”) gives the Participant Notice of
Layoff.” AR 4.
• “the term ‘Notice of Layoff' means a
written notice provided by [Phillips 66] to the Participant
in a form acceptable to the Plan Administrator stating the
Date of Layoff.” AR 6.
• “such notice is a Notice of Layoff only if
approved by . . . [t]he applicable business line's Human
Resources General Manager or the highest level Human
Resources manager with responsibility for staffing the
applicable business line in the case of an Employee who is