Thursday, April 13, 2017

California Supreme Court Grants Review of CAL FIRE Airtime Credit Case

On April 12, 2017, the California Supreme Court granted CAL FIRE Local 2881's petition for review of the First District Court of Appeal's decision on December 20, 2016 to uphold the elimination of the “airtime credit” benefit in the Public Employment Retirement Systems (“PERS”).

The most significant part of the previous decision by the  Court of Appeal for the First District was the court's decision to adopt the ruling in Marin Association of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association (MAPE) regarding the authority of the Legislature to reduce retirement benefits if they do not destroy the pension. The MAPE ruling broke with a half century of precedent holding that any modification of a pension resulting in a detriment must include an offsetting advantage.

The California Supreme Court has now granted review of both the MAPE and Cal Fire rulings. This is a significant opportunity to right the ship and overturn the damage these decisions did to the California vested rights doctrine.

Our office is currently representing two law enforcement associations in separate pension-related appeals in the First Appellate District, including the Alameda Deputy Sheriff's Association. 2017 continues to be an important year for determination of pension rights.