Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit.
No. 2:10-cv-14720—Sean F. Cox, District Judge.
Argued: May 4, 2018
Decided and Filed: June 20, 2018
Before: MOORE, THAPAR, and BUSH, Circuit Judges.
KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. Randy Pearce, a long-time employee of
Chrysler Group LLC, was a participant in the Chrysler Group LLC Pension Plan (“Plan”).
Under the Plan’s terms, Pearce had earned an early retirement supplement, called “30-and-Out
benefits.” He relied on the Summary Plan Document (“SPD”), provided by Chrysler to Plan
participants, which stated he did not need to be “actively employed at retirement” to remain
eligible for these benefits. But the SPD omitted an exclusionary clause contained in the Plan
document itself, which said that an employee who was terminated was ineligible for the early
retirement supplement. After Pearce was terminated, he applied for his retirement benefits and
was denied the 30-and-Out benefits.
After unsuccessfully appealing this denial administratively, Pearce brought suit under the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Pearce
seeks to hold the Plan to its representations in the SPD, notwithstanding the exclusionary
provision in the Plan document, via the equitable remedies available under ERISA § 502(a)(3),
29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3). For the reasons set forth below, we REVERSE the district court’s grant
of summary judgment to the Plan on Pearce’s request for reformation, AFFIRM summary
judgment on Pearce’s request for equitable estoppel, and REMAND for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.