Tapley v. Locals 302 and 612, No. 11-35220 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., after the Trustees' of their pension plan determined that plaintiffs' respective post-retirement jobs as traffic flagger and snow plow operator fell into the same "job classification" as their former union jobs as skilled mechanics. Therefore, plaintiffs were precluded from working these jobs if they wanted to collect retirement benefits. The court concluded that common sense strongly suggested that a position flagging traffic or plowing snow was not in the same "job classification" as a skilled mechanic repairing heavy equipment utilizing special skills acquired over a long career. The court reversed the district court's judgment because it was unable to see how any sensible application of the skills and duties test to the established facts could support the Trustees' conclusion. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment.