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Argued October 9, 2001

This matter comes on before this court on appeal from an order of the district court entering judgment in favor of appellee Edward J. Foley, Sr., and against the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 98 Pension Fund (the “Pension Fund” or the “Fund”). *fn1 Foley claims that the Pension Fund’s Board of Trustees (“Trustees”) improperly declined to grant him an exception to the pension Plan’s service eligibility provisions that would have permitted him to receive a higher level of benefits than that to which he otherwise was entitled. Following a bench trial, the district court concluded that the Trustees arbitrarily and capriciously declined to apply the exception to Foley in the manner they had applied it to other employees seeking its benefit. Thus, it entered judgment in his favor on August 29, 2000. Appellants assert that the district court, when reviewing the Trustees’ decision, erred in its application of the arbitrary and capricious standard, as Foley was not similarly situated to other employees to whom the Trustees had applied the exception. Appellants also appeal the district court’s subsequent award of attorneys’ fees to Foley by order of December 8, 2000. For the reasons set forth below, we will reverse the district court’s judgment on the merits and, accordingly, we also will reverse the award of attorneys’ fees.

I. BACKGROUND

 
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