Byline: John Manganaro
Summary paragraph: Hartman v. Dana Holding Corp.
In Hartman v. Dana Holding Corp., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana levied $4,470 in penalties against Dana Holding after the company failed to provide a deceased participant's widow with retirement plan documents that took effect in 1979.
Elaine Hartman filed the suit in 2011, following the death of her husband, who had worked for 24 years at Dana Holding or companies the manufacturing firm had acquired.
Hartman contacted Dana to inquire about a survivor annuity and was told her husband had elected against such an annuity in 1979. Hartman then requested the relevant plan documents and summary plan description, together with her husband's election form and the spousal waiver form.
After Dana staff indicated they could not find the 1979 documentation, Hartman sued Dana and the Weatherhead-UAW Combined Hourly Employee Pension Plan, seeking statutory penalties against Dana for its failure to provide the documents, along with some attorney's fees.