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Monday, May 01, 2006

Everything Must Go

Not unexpectedly, PERS was hit with another lawsuit filed today in Multnomah County Circuit Court. This is the class action mentioned in an earlier post and is filed by the PERS Coalition. It alleges that the PERB, in adopting the Board Order of January 27, 2006 and then notifying "window retirees" of their intent to recover "overpayments" in a letter dated May 8, 2006, breached the statutes governing such issues. The suit asks the Court to order PERS to collect the overcredits via the mechanism statutorily adopted by the Oregon Legislature in HB 2003, while enjoining them from any other method. This method, known around among friends as the "14b" rule, is named after the section of House Bill 2003 enacted during the 2003 legislature to provide an "exclusive remedy" in the City of Eugene case (this was before the case was 'settled' and before the Supreme Court mooted the appeal). The attorney of record in this case is Gene Mechanic, another Portland labor lawyer with PERS litigation history. The case will be referred to as the "Robinson" case. It joins the "Arken" case as legal tests of the current PERS Board's authority to go forward with plans to recover from retirees.

This lawsuit could still be followed by several more before May 9th, the official end to the 60-day period surrounding the "official" notification "window retirees" received.

P.S. A copy of the petition is posted on the OPRI website for those interested in reading it. The OPRI site also has exerpted section 14b of the statute enacted by the legislature in 2003 to highlight the area of law addressed by this suit. The Robinson case basically asks the Court to order PERS to charge the expenses of the retirees off to administrative expenses as the court already ruled that the COLA freeze was an improper way to recover the money.

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