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Prince v. Sears Holdings Corp.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 27, 2017

BILLY E. PRINCE, individually and as personal representative for the late JUDITH A. PRINCE, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: December 6, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, at Clarksburg. John Preston Bailey, District Judge. (1:15-cv-00006-JPB)

         Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Motz wrote the opinion, in which Judge Keenan and Judge Thacker joined.

         ARGUED:

          Chad Lewis Taylor, SIMMERMAN LAW OFFICE, PLLC, Clarksburg, West Virginia, for Appellant.

          Jill E. Hall, BOWLES RICE LLP, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Frank E. Simmerman, Jr., SIMMERMAN LAW OFFICE, PLLC, Clarksburg, West Virginia, for Appellant.

          Gerard R. Stowers, BOWLES RICE LLP, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellee.

          Before MOTZ, KEENAN, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.

          DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ, Circuit Judge.

         Alleging that his employer improperly administered life insurance benefits, an employee brought suit for misrepresentation, constructive fraud, and infliction of emotional distress. Because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") completely preempts these state law claims, we affirm the judgment of the district court dismissing the complaint.

         I.

         In November 2010, Billy E. Prince submitted an application to his employer for $150, 000 in life insurance coverage for his wife, Judith Prince. The employer, Sears, sponsored and administered the life insurance program through The Prudential Insurance Company of America. In May 2011, Sears sent an ...


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