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Exhausting Administrative Remedies: C.D. Ill.

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  • Exhausting Administrative Remedies: C.D. Ill.

    In a recent case out of the Central District of Illinois, the court rules on the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss after alleging that the Plaintiff failed to exhaust the administrative remedies. By way of background, the Defendant sent the Plaintiff a denial letter on April 21, 2015. The Plaintiff did not request an administrative review within the 180 day window, but instead requested a voluntary review after the window had closed. On April 6, 2017, the Plaintiff filed suit. The Defendant then filed this Motion to Dismiss, to which the Plaintiff did not respond.

    The court reasoned:

    The text of 29 U.S.C. § 1132, which provides for civil actions to redress violations of ERISA, “does not address whether a claimant must exhaust [his] administrative remedies before filing suit in federal court.” Gallegos v. Mount Sinai Med. Ctr., 210 F.3d 803, 807 (7th Cir. 2000). However, the Seventh Circuit has “interpreted
    ERISA as requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies as a prerequisite to bringing suit under the statute.” Edwards v. Briggs & Stratton Ret. Plan, 639 F.3d 355, 360 (7th Cir. 2011); Zhou v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 295 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2002) (“As a pre-requisite to filing suit, an ERISA plaintiff must exhaust his internal administrative remedies.”). Dismissal is warranted if a plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
    As a result, the court found that:

    Here, Plaintiff freely admits that he did not exhaust his administrative remedies before filing his Complaint.[...] Because Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, his Complaint must be dismissed. However, the Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s Complaint is WITHOUT PREJUDICE so that Plaintiff has an opportunity to plead additional facts relevant to the issue of whether Plaintiff is excused from exhausting administrative remedies.
    The opinion is attached below.
    Attached Files