The district court adopted the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reasoning in Adams v. Anheuser-Busch Cos.,
which the 8th Circuit said presented “the identical issue.” The
district court concluded the plan administrator’s denial of benefits was
“arbitrary and capricious. Three months after the district court
entered judgment on the pleadings, the district court granted
Anheuser-Busch’s motion for a final order and stay of judgment pending
appeal. Rejecting plaintiffs’ request to calculate the specific amount
of benefits due to each class member, the district court simply ordered
Anheuser-Busch to direct the plan administrator to provide each member
of the class with the enhanced pension benefit under Section 19.11(f).
8th Circuit Local Rule 47A, plaintiffs moved to dismiss
Anheuser-Busch’s appeal on the basis that the district court had not yet
issued a final order. Plaintiffs argue another 8th Circuit decision in Dieser v. Continental Casualty Co. “confirms”
the district court’s order entering judgment was not final because it
failed to calculate the benefits owed to each member of the class.
Although plaintiffs contend the order is not final because they were not
awarded damages, the district court considered their argument but
decided the nature of their action was declaratory, and they were not
entitled to an award that calculated the benefits owed.
examination of plaintiffs’ prayer for relief in Count I of their
consolidated complaint, the appellate court concluded that plaintiffs
made a sufficient request for an actual award of certain benefits with
the application of the enhanced benefit—in addition to a declaration
that Section 19.11(f) applies. Therefore, the appellate court reversed
and remanded the case back to the district court with instructions to
reconsider the plaintiffs’ prayer for relief and, to the extent
requested and provable, calculate and award the benefits owed to
plaintiffs by applying Section 19.11(f). Upon remand, the district court
may reconsider whether certain records will assist in its calculation
of the requested benefits, the 8th Circuit said. NEXT: Was the plan language ambiguous?