United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Raymond L. Eichenberger, Plaintiff,
Cardinal Health, Inc., Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
L. GRAHAM United States District Judge
Raymond L. Eichenberger, proceeding pro se, brings
this action against defendant Cardinal Health, Inc.
Eichenberger alleges that defendant wrongfully terminated the
dependent health insurance coverage he received as the spouse
of a Cardinal employee. This suit was originally filed in
state court and was removed by Cardinal to this court on the
grounds that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq., governs
matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion for a
temporary restraining order, which the court denies for the
reasons stated below.
was married to Maxine Irvine, who has been employed by
Cardinal since 2009. Eichenberger was covered on the family
health insurance policy that Irvin obtained through Cardinal
at the beginning of 2016.
filed for divorce in the Franklin County Court of Common
Pleas in late 2014. On September 7, 2016, the state court
issued a decree of divorce that, among other things discussed
below, terminated the marriage. (Doc. 13-2).
Cardinal Plan provided that divorce is an event which
constitutes a qualified change in status, allowing the
participant to make a new election. (Doc. 13-1 at §
4.5(A)). On September 13, 2016, Irvin notified Cardinal of
the termination of her marriage and Eichenberger's
coverage was immediately terminated. (Doc. 13-3 at ¶ 2).
October 5, 2016, Cardinal issued a COBRA notice to
Eichenberger, informing him of his right to continue coverage
for up to 36 months. (Doc. 13-4). He responded by letter on
November 3, 2016 stating that he would not be electing COBRA
coverage. (Doc. 13-5). Eichenberger asserted in the letter
that the divorce decree had been stayed and alleged that the
effect of the stay was that “I am not legally divorced
from Maxine.” (Id.). Eichenberger, who is an
attorney,  warned Cardinal's representative that
“unless you are an attorney, you have no qualifications
to be construing these court Orders.” (Id.).
had in fact appealed the state court's September 7, 2016
order. But that order was not a run-of-the-mill decree
granting a divorce. The order recited at length the
misconduct in which Eichenberger had engaged during the
course of the divorce proceeding. The court found that
Eichenberger had: “engaged in fraudulent disposition of
marital assets”; “blatantly refused to provide
full discovery” regarding his income, business records
and bank accounts “despite multiple Court Orders to do
so”; “behav[ed] in a manner that is overtly
hostile and combative”; “prevented the Court from
making a clear, reasoned, and accurate determination of the
parties' marital assets”; engaged in
“frivolous behavior” throughout the course of the
litigation; exhibited a “flagrant disregard” for
the authority of the court; and had such a lack of candor
that it reflected “his disdain for the
profession.” (Doc. 13-2 at PAGEID#160, 166, 168, 178).
As a result, the court held that it would be inequitable to
award Eichenberger his dower interest in certain marital
property, and it ordered him to pay his wife's
attorney's fees and held him in contempt and imposed a
sentence of three days incarceration.
November 2, 2016 the state court issued a stay order that
restrained the parties from encumbering or transferring their
assets pending appeal. (Doc. 13-7). The stay order did not
contain any language vacating, reversing or staying the
termination of the marriage. Nor did the stay order (or the
September 7 order) make any mention of entitlement to health
insurance coverage or benefits. The appeal remains pending.
November 22, 2016, Cardinal sent a letter to Eichenberger
stating that it would not reinstate his coverage unless he
provided “documentation to confirm that the date of the
divorce has been postponed.” (Doc. 13-6). The letter
further stated that “[i]n the meantime, you have the
right to submit claims under the Plan. If any claims are
denied due to the termination of your coverage, you have the
right to appeal the denial . . . .” (Id.).
receiving the November 22, 2016 letter, Eichenberger did not
submit any claims for medical services received between
September 7 and December 31, 2016. (Doc. 13-3 at ¶ 7).
Standard of Review
restraining orders are authorized under Rule 65(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. They are extraordinary
remedies governed by the following considerations: (1)
whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the
merits, (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable
injury absent an injunction, (3) whether issuance of the
injunction would cause substantial harm to others, and (4)
whether the public interest would be served by granting the
requested injunction. Ohio Republican ...