(1) The specific reason or reasons for the denial;
(2) Specific references to the Plan provisions on which the denial is based;
(3) A statement that the Claimant is entitled to receive, upon request and without charge, reasonable access to, and copies of, all documents, records and other information relevant to the claim for Benefits; and
(4) A statement of claimants right to bring a civil action under ERISA Section 502(a), subject to the Plans arbitration provisions.
12.4 Temporary COVID-19 Extension of Deadlines. The Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service and Department of the Treasury (the Agencies) issued COVID-19-related relief to temporarily extend the deadlines to file ERISA claims and appeals. Under this relief, the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty (60) days after the announced end of the national emergency (or such other date announced by the Agencies) will be disregarded in determining the deadlines for a Claimant to file claims and appeals under this Plan, provided, however, that no more than one year will be disregarded in determining a given deadline.
12.5 Disputes Subject to Arbitration. Any claim, dispute or controversy arising out of this Plan, the interpretation, validity or enforceability of this Plan or the alleged breach thereof shall be submitted by the parties to binding arbitration by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or as otherwise required by ERISA; provided, however, that (a) the arbitrator shall have no authority to make any ruling or judgment that would confer any rights with respect to trade secrets, confidential and proprietary information or other intellectual property; and (b) this arbitration provision shall not preclude the parties from seeking legal and equitable relief from any court having jurisdiction with respect to any disputes or claims relating to or arising out of the misuse or misappropriation of intellectual property. Such arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the then-existing AAA Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures. The rules can be found at https://www.adr.org/employment, or a copy will be provided upon request. Judgment may be entered on the award of the arbitrator in any court having jurisdiction.
(a) Site of Arbitration. The site of the arbitration proceeding shall be in Tucson, Arizona or any other site mutually agreed to by the Company and the Participant.
(b) Costs and Expenses Borne by Company. All costs and expenses of arbitration shall be paid by the Company. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Participant initiates the arbitration, and the arbitrator finds that the Participants claims were totally without merit or frivolous, then the Participant shall be responsible for the Participants own attorneys fees and costs.
12.6 If any judicial proceeding is undertaken to appeal or arbitrate the denial of a claim or bring any other action under ERISA other than a breach of fiduciary duty claim, the evidence presented may be strictly limited to the evidence timely presented to the Committee. In addition, any such judicial proceeding must be filed no later than two (2) years from the date of the final adverse benefit determination of an applicants appeal of the denial of his or her claim for benefits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the applicable, analogous state statute of limitations has run or will run before the aforementioned two (2)-year period, the states statute of limitations shall be controlling.
13. NO CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
Neither the establishment of the Plan, nor any amendment thereto, nor the payment of any benefits shall be construed as giving any person the right to be retained by the Company, a Successor or any other member of the Company Group. Except as otherwise established in an employment agreement between the Company Group and a Participant, the employment relationship between the Participant and the Company is an at-will relationship. Accordingly, either the Participant or the Company may terminate the relationship at any time, with or without Cause, and with or without notice except as otherwise provided by Section 15. In addition, nothing in this Plan shall in any manner obligate any Successor or other member of the Company Group to offer employment to any Participant or to continue the employment of any Participant whom it does hire for any specific duration of time.