Pension Litigation-Update 12/3/2018

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    Steve Horchar

    The following report was prepared by Local 964’s pension counsel, Mr. Robert Klausner concerning the closing arguments scheduled for December 5, 2018 at 2 PM.

    After nearly eight years of litigation in federal and state courts, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Julie R. Rubin will hear closing argument in the case of Cherry v. Mayor and City Council on December 5, 2018 at 2:00 PM. The case arose out of the City’s unilateral reduction of pension benefits of both active and retired members in 2010 and the city’s systematic under-funding of the pension plan.
    In January, Judge Rubin ruled that the City violated the pension contract for retired members in eliminating the variable benefit and replacing it with the 0-1-2 cost of living adjustment and held damages would be determined at trial. In that same ruling, Judge Rubin determined that the claims of active members alleging the change in their benefits was unreasonable would also be determined at trial.

    In a seven-day trial, the Court heard from active and retired police officers and firefighters, including Local 964-member Captain Scott Lake and former Local 964 President Captain Stephan Fugate, about the impact the pension changes had on their lives and careers. The judge also heard from two actuaries on behalf of the members explaining the financial impact on the membership. One actuary testified on behalf of the City. The City also heard from former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, former pension administrator Tom Taneyhill and a labor economist on behalf of the City.

    Nearly 400 exhibits were introduced consisting of thousands of pages of plan provisions, actuarial and financial reports, and testimony from the original federal trial.

    On November 15th, both sides filed post hearing briefs. They are available for reading on the Local 964 website.

    At the hearing on December 5th, Judge Rubin will hear lawyers from both sides present argument on the evidence presented and how that evidence relates to the law in Maryland concerning pensions. The unions, including Local 964, have consistently argued that members suffered substantial financial losses in the 2010 pension changes and received nothing from the City to offset the effect of those changes. The unions have argued that the 2010 changes required active members to work longer, pay more and get less.
    It is expected that Judge Rubin will take the matter under advisement and will issue a written decision in early 2019.


    Steve Horchar

    We have been notified that Court will be closed, on Wednesday, December 5th. A new date will be scheduled, and as soon as we know it, it will be posted on our social media sites.


    Steve Horchar

    Closing argument and oral presentations of post-trial briefs shall take place on January 4, 2019, at 2:00 PM in Courtroom 509 of Courthouse East.

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