Whitworth Bros. Storage Co. v. Central States Pension Fund
In Whitworth Bros. Storage Co. v. Central States Pension Fund, 794 F.2d 221, 236 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1007, 107 S.Ct. 645, 93 L.Ed.2d 701 (1986), an employer sued under the contract doctrine of restitution to recover payments mistakenly made to a retirement plan. Because the employer was neither a plan participant, beneficiary, or fiduciary, the Sixth Circuit concluded that the plaintiff could not premise jurisdiction on the face of the ERISA statute. 794 F.2d at 227.
However, because the restitution claim could only be decided under federal common law given ERISA's preemption clause, the court held that plaintiff's claims "arise under federal law pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331." Id. at 233.