Halo v. Yale Health Plan
A pro se plaintiff who files an Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim may be entitled to notice about the consequences of failing to respond to a motion for summary judgment. The pro se plaintiff, Tiffany Halo, sued Yale Health Plan, alleging it violated ERISA. The defendant moved for judgment on the administrative record. The District Court, Bryant, J., treated the defendant's motion as a motion for summary judgment. The District Court granted the motion, and Halo appealed. The 2nd Circuit found that the District Court was required to provide Halo, a pro se plaintiff, with notice "of the consequences of failing to respond to a motion for summary judgment," pursuant to the 2nd Circuit's 1999 decision, Vital v. Interfaith Medical Center. No evidence existed that the District Court or Yale Health Plan informed the pro se plaintiff or that the pro se plaintiff recognized the consequences. Halo did not submit affidavits in support of her contention that Dr. Donald D'Amico provided her with emergency treatment, although there were indications that she possessed the ability to submit affidavits on this point. The record also suggested that Halo might have been able to submit affidavits to support her allegation that her ERISA claims were exhausted. The record did not clearly indicate that Halo comprehended that to avoid summary judgment she was required to submit affidavits or other evidence. The 2nd Circuit vacated the District Court's judgment and remanded. On remand, the District Court may consider whether Yale violated the procedural requirements for claim administration under 29 Code of Federal Regulations §2560.503-1, which provides minimum requirements for employee benefit plan procedures. Patrick Noonan and Anthony Sutton represented the defendant.