COLA lawsuit update
Updated Feb. 19. 2014
On January 28, 2014, oral arguments were heard at the appellate courthouse in Middlesex County on the suspension of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) mandated by P.L. 2011 Chapter 78. This hearing occurred because of an earlier decision by Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd who dismissed the lawsuit in May 2012.
At the recent hearing NJEA and NJREA members were represented by NJEA counsel. The argument by our attorneys was that under a 1997 law an employee has a right to receive the pension that was in existence at the time the employee attained 5 years of service in the pension system. The argument included that this benefit cannot be reduced by future legislative action such as P.L. 2011 Chapter 78 and that the COLA is part of the pension benefit that is protected by the 1997 law.
After the attorneys presented their case, the judges gave them two more weeks to submit additional briefs regarding the appeal. While these brief have already been submitted, a decision on the appeal is not expected for a few months. NJEA will advise members when a decision is rendered.