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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

In Praise of the Vulnerable Man

And woman. The Kay Bell hearings begin next Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court. The White case will be heard on August 4-5 in the Multnomah County Circuit Court (Judge Kantor again). The Bell case tests a novel theory of whether an individual can recover damages from PERS for being given incorrect information prior to retirement. This seems to me to be a reformulation of the same legal question of "promissory estoppel," which was raised in the Strunk case (and ignored) and directly in the Arken case (and overruled).

The White case challenges the settlement agreement between the City of Eugene Plaintiffs and PERS and the State of Oregon. In particular, it tests whether the PERS Board breached its fiduciary duty to PERS members and retirees by entering into an agreement that violated the rights of those members and retirees.

I will not be around to sit through these hearings. I trust others will do so and share information with me. I'll be out of town for both cases.


MollyNCharlie said...

I and a PERS Buddy from Dallas are planning to sit in on the Bell case here in Salem next Tuesday. It would be great if others could join us. I remember all the discussion that flowed out of the hearings in Kantor's court from all the different perspectives brought by people who watched the arguments. I'd sure like to see something like that this time.


MollyNCharlie said...

I watched the whole first day of the Kay Bell trial and found it very interesting. See my comments posted on PERS Oregon Discussion (POD) for details.


mrfearless47 said...

It will be interesting to see if Kay does any better with a jury trial than we have done with judicial hearings. I guess we'll find out whether PERS will respond to a Jury's findings any better than they've responded to coufg

MollyNCharlie said...

Kay won! The amazing part is that the verdict was unanimous, all 12 jurors voted in her favor on both questions (was she reasonable to rely on PERS estimates and did PERS harm her). The jury then voted that she be awarded $200,707. I have no way of telling if this will get any better response from PERS. Their attorney did give notice that PERS will request a reduction of the award amount. He also stated on the record that PERS still believes the judge was wrong to even allow this trial, believing that Oregon law precludes it! Same old PERS!

Still it was sweet to see Kay Bell and her attorney, Aruna Masih (from Bennett Hartman), win a clean sweep today!