Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There are a lot of people who are angry that people who honorably served and retired according to the provisions of a contract are receiving benefits these days. The County of Orange (CA) has been diligently working to take bread out of the mouths of the retired to score points with the electorate. By the time that men and women reach the age of around 65 - in this job market - they become hard-core unemployable. Many law enforcement officers have health problems that were compounded by the work they did and cutting their pensions put them in a very rough place. It's not as if they can go out and find work, especially in Southern California where, according to CBS Sixty Minutes, unemployment combined with underemployment is at 22%.

The Second California District Court of Appeals (sitting in Los Angeles) unanimously affirmed in a 3 to 0 opinion today, to uphold an earlier judgment by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, to throw out the County of Orange’s lawsuit to overturn 3% at 50 pension benefits for Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (COUNTY OF ORANGE v. ASSOCIATION OF ORANGE COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS et al., Case #B218660). After an extremely quick 7 days of deliberation, the court also awarded the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS) their costs for the appeal.

The decision marks the third time in 2 years the County of Orange has been rejected by the courts in their legal effort to overturn 3% at 50 pension benefits for Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. They were quickly tossed out of Los Angeles Superior Court last February 26 and again on May 22, before even being set for a formal hearing.

The County of Orange filed the controversial lawsuit in February 2008, despite having three different outside law firms they had hired for legal counsel, warn them they could not win such a case. As of July 31, 2010, they have spent almost $2.3 million on their legal costs.

“After three strikes, the County is out,” said Wayne Quint, President of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS). “We hope the Orange County Board of Supervisors now come to their senses and realize what we, and their attorneys, told them four years ago -- they are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law on this one. They can’t win. They have been told this by three different law firms and four judges in two different courts. If they don’t realize it at this point, they are in major denial. How much more apparent can it be that they have no legal argument?”

Based on past practice and the character of the Board of Supervisors, they'll appeal the decision of the District Court of Appeal to the California Supreme Court. If the California Supreme Court rejects the appeal, it will be appealed to the US Supreme Court - at likely double the cost to the taxpayers that they've already spent.

You can demonize the deputy sheriffs, you can demonize the courts, but once someone has a contract, and relies on the provisions of the contract, the law is on their side.


darlin said...

And rightfully so! These men worked to serve and protect and to turn around and get kicked in the pocketbook is a load of crap in my opinion.

Opus #6 said...

They got attorney's fees? I call that a complete win.

AmandaFienPhotography said...

How dumb are they....really dumb. But I still don't understand why the OCSD and DA's office have their retirement in something other than CALPERS.

Race Bannon said...

Its funny (not) that these elected officials can't look forward, and instead try to break promises made.

Alan Simpson was on TV last night talking about sacrifices we are going to have to make. He was clear, you can't change what you have already promised, but you can change what promises you make in the future.

LL said...

Amanda, Orange County is a Chapter 37 County (not all in California are) -- Riverside County, for example, isn't. As a result they have their own retirement system. Some would argue that it allows them more flexibility in managing their retirement portfolio than, say, going with CALPERS. The wisdom of that still has to be played out.

You may note that OCERS (Orange County Employee Retirement System) is not suing the deputy sheriffs.

RACE, I think that this decision ads to that body of law that you make reference to. However the future is an open book - and not a pretty one.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin