Court Case Update, Steve Fugate

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    David Franz

    In my November 15 update of Court activities, I speculated that I probably would not see the written Post Trial Brief submitted on behalf of the Unions by our attorneys but that has proven not to be the case. I have received and read the thirty-one-page document and if I had to describe the content and context in a single word, AMAZING! I have been in Court for every minute of very often excruciatingly painful testimony and for our incredibly team of attorneys to have narrowed it all down to thirty-one pages is simply AMAZING but I suppose that’s why they call it a “Brief”. Heck, if someone asks me “what time is it?”, I’m inclined to explained the origin of modern-day time measurement. I am NOT good at “brief”. In an attempt to BE brief, however, I’ll limit this to the bare essence of the case that now awaits a ruling by Judge Rubin which, once again, will SURELY be appealed by the losing side.

    Our attorneys have narrowed our claims to two, what I will call, components. First is the claim of Breach Of Contract by failing to fund the Plan as required by contract obligations in Article 22 of the Baltimore City Code (i.e. Fire and Police Pension System). Lots of moving parts to that but no need to elaborate at this point. Second, a challenge of the reasonableness of modifications of promised (my word, contractual) benefits based on the “Quinn” test. (City of Frederick, Md. V. Quinn, is reference to a 1977 precedent setting Court Special Appeals Ruling establishing that ((once again, MY words)) a benefit “taken” must be offset by a comparable replacement in the eye of the individual member, NOT the eye of the Plan sponsor.). I may well have oversimplified that Ruling but the net result of any interpretation is essentially the correct.

    In other words, as to that second component, the Fire and Police Retirement System contract is a contract between the City of Baltimore and EACH AND EVERY participant as an individual, NOT as a collective. The “reasonableness” test is to be viewed as from the perspective of the participant, NOT the (in our case) City.

    NOTE: All of the above is nothing more than my personal interpretation of facts as I understand them in an effort to keep our members informed. I am NOT and don’t claim to be a legal expert but I’m merely TRYING to convey information that I believe ALL of our members are entitled to as best I can.

    Stephan G. Fugate


    Terry Haney

    Steve, thanks for the update. By any chance did you see the article on Baltimore Brew about one of the City’s witnesses.

    Terry Haney

    Dave I missed that you posted the info from Steve. Thanks to you also.

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