OPINION OF THE COURT
MAX ROSENN, Circuit Judge.
This is an appeal from an order of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 325 F.Supp. 666, granting the motion of the defendants, appellees herein, for summary judgment. The case arises from the cessation of operations of the Plate Division Plant of the Phoenix Steel Corporation (Phoenix) at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on December 31, 1960. Since Phoenix had no nearby plant to which the employees of the Plate Division Plant could transfer, many lost their means of livelihood.
The plaintiffs, appellants herein, were employees of the Plate Division Plant, and members of a pension fund, established in 1950 by an agreement between Phoenix and the United Steelworkers of America (USW) which was the collective bargaining agency for the Plate Division Plant employees. Section 17 of the plan provided for "Disposition of Fund upon Termination." How this section should be interpreted forms the crux of this case on appeal. The district court succinctly summarized the operative provisions of Section 17 as follows:
The Fund was deemed "terminated" when the Plate Division Plant closed. Under the provisions of the plan, as outlined above, the Retirement Board,
Some six years after the Retirement Board had reached its conclusions concerning termination of the plan, suit was brought, on behalf of the former employees, requesting equitable relief mandating that the payments to be secured from the Fund be in the form of immediate lump sum outlays. The defendants to this action were Phoenix, the First Pennsylvania Trust Company, and the members of the Retirement Board. A second claim, asserted only against the USW, requested payment from the Union of an amount equal to that which would have been immediately forthcoming from the Fund had the Retirement Board chosen to distribute the Fund in the form of immediate lump sum payments, rather than continuing the Fund. On motion of the defendants, USW, Phoenix and Retirement Board, the district court granted summary judgment. From this decision, the employees appeal.
Appellants have raised three arguments. First, appellants call attention to that part of Section 17 which reads:
They argue that because of the hardship visited upon the employees by the loss of
The purpose of the Pension Fund, as evinced by the agreement as a whole, was to create pensions. This goal lead to the establishment of the Fund in the first instance. Section 17 goes into considerable detail as to the manner of preference in which pensions are to be distributed in the event of termination of the Fund, and it states that its purpose is "to assure the continued payments of Pensions to Participating Employees." (emphasis supplied). Other sections of the Fund agreement also make clear that its sole purpose was the creation of pensions. Section 31, for example, provides that no participating employee has any "right, title, or interest in or to or claim against the Fund, or any part thereof except the right to receive Pensions in the amount and subject to the terms, conditions, and requirements in the plan." (emphasis supplied). Consonant with the stated purposes of the Fund, the most reasonable interpretation of that part of Section 17 cited by appellants is that the Retirement Board was only to consider other forms of distribution in the event the Fund was terminated before there were sufficient funds in it to create an adequate pension plan.
Appellants' second contention is that they were entitled to recover on a quantum meruit theory of recovery as against Phoenix. The gist of appellants' position is that they relied upon the pension plan as partial consideration for their continued services to the company, yet those employees who had not been employed for 15 years continuous service as of December 31, 1960, will receive nothing from the Fund. The direct answer to this argument is that those appellants who had not had fifteen years continuous employment, and who will not be receiving pensions, are barred from those benefits by the terms of the Pension Fund itself.
Additionally, appellants' cited authority for their position is not relevant to the instant case. Appellants rely on Lucas v. Seagrave, Corp., 277 F.Supp. 338 (D.Minn. 1967). There, one company merged with another. Some employees were dismissed as a result of the merger. The pension plan, however, continued in operation. The court held that the dismissed employees were entitled to recover certain money from the pension fund. The critical fact upon which the district court rested its opinion was that the company was using the premiums, contributed by the dismissed employees, to meet future obligations owed by the company to the pension fund; yet, simultaneously, the company was denying pension benefits to those employees it had dismissed.
The district court felt that even if such a statement had been made, it would have been unreasonable for the employees to have relied upon it, since the authority to determine the use of the Pension Fund rested solely with the Retirement Board. Thus, the district court concluded that there was "no genuine issue of material fact." Again, we agree. It was not necessary to know the Fund Agreement in any detail to know that the Board was vested with exclusive control of the disposition of the Fund on termination. This was basic and fundamental to the Fund agreement as a whole. As stated in Section 17:
and again in Section 20:
If, indeed, as appellants suggest, the Fund was an important part of their employment, it cannot reasonably be suggested that they would not have knowledge of the fact the Fund agreement had removed administration of the plan from USW control. Board control, not USW control, was critical to the structure of the plan as a whole. Therefore, assuming that the Union in fact had promised the employees it would secure lump sum payments, reliance upon such a promise would be unreasonable.
For these reasons, the judgment of the district court will be affirmed.
"Section 17: Disposition of Fund upon Termination