Dickerson v. Dickerson

803 F. Supp. 127 (1992)

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Dickerson v. Dickerson

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
803 F. Supp. 127 (1992)

Facts

A Tennessee circuit court entered a final divorce decree for Janet Dickerson (plaintiff) and her husband, James Dickerson (defendant). The divorce decree divided up the couple’s assets, including James’s pension benefits as part of the Southern Electrical Retirement Fund (fund). The court granted Janet, as an alternate payee, a judgment of $8,000 from James’s pension benefits, and the divorce decree included specific language attempting to provide a qualified domestic-relations order under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The fund refused to provide the allocated pension funds because James had not become eligible to receive retirement benefits. The earliest age an employee could receive normal retirement benefits was 55, and James would not reach the required age for more than 20 years. Janet filed a motion in Tennessee state court to add the fund as a party to her divorce action to try and challenge the refusal of benefits, as well as a show-cause order. The state court granted both motions. James and the fund removed the case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee by invoking subject-matter jurisdiction under ERISA. Both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Edgar, J.)

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