Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Round One in the final showdown over the “California Rule”: Mastagni Holstedt files Alameda DSA’s Opening Brief in the California Supreme Court

On behalf of the Alameda County DSA, our office filed an opening brief last week with the California Supreme Court in Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association v. Alameda County Employees Retirement Association. The State of California and the Contra Costa Sanitation District appealed the lower court’s decision seeking to reverse a favorable part of the ruling that found legacy members could recover damages under a theory of promissory estoppel for the exclusion of various pay items from their pension calculations.  Not surprisingly, neither the Governor nor the Sanitation District appealed the Appellate court’s ruling that inclusion of terminal pays in pensions is not a vested right.  They also did not appeal the court’s reversal of the “California Rule” by holding that pension benefits could be reduced without providing any new offsetting advantage. Accordingly, we appealed those issues.  The Supreme Court had delayed ruling on the similar Marin and Cal Fire  appeals pending this action.  The Supreme Court’s decisions in these appeals will likely determine whether the Governor can use employees’ pension funds as a funding source for other spending priorities– a course of action he has already endorsed if the lower court’s ruling stands.

A copy of the brief can be found here: