Pension & Benefits lawsuit: Update

Updated April, 2013

Little has developed since the last update, but the case is moving forward. To recap:

In March 2012, the federal pension suit filed in August 2011 over Public Law 2011, Chapter 78, which sought to eliminate retired public school employees’ COLA and reduced pension benefits, was dismissed. The appellate court ruled it did not have jurisdiction in this case and, as a result, the lawsuit was submitted to the New Jersey Superior Court.

In April 2012, NJEA attorneys removed the COLA portion of the lawsuit from the rest of the case in order to join another lawsuit filed by a group of Deputy Attorneys in the Attorney General’s office.

This additional lawsuit deals solely with the legality of the removal of COLA and had already been underway for several months. On May 25, Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd rendered his decision, ruling in favor of the state and upheld the suspension of COLA benefits.

The plaintiffs have the opportunity to file an appeal with the Appellate Division. NJEA attorneys have considered asking for direct review by the Supreme Court, but before that can be requested, all briefs must be filed with the Appellate Division. The original pension and benefits lawsuit—save the COLA issue—is currently before Judge Mary Jacobson. The attorney general is expected to send her a position statement on these issues prior to her ruling.

According to our attorneys, they will have their day in court later this year.

NJEA is monitoring the case closely, and will be sure to keep all members informed with any new developments.

Pensions & Benefits Lawsuit Update
Published July 12, 2012

In March 2012, the federal pension suit over Public Law 2011, Chapter 78 that was filed last August was dismissed because that court did not have jurisdiction. The lawsuit was then submitted to the New Jersey Superior Court.

In April 2012, NJEA attorneys separated the COLA portion of NJEA’s lawsuit from the rest of the case in order to join another lawsuit filed by a group of deputy attorneys in the Attorney General’s office. That case dealt only with the COLA argument and had already been underway for several months.

On May 25, 2012, Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd rendered a decision on the COLA matter. He ruled in favor of the state and upheld the suspension of COLA benefits.

The next step is to file an appeal to the Appellate Division. NJEA attorneys have considered asking for direct review by the Supreme Court, but before that can be requested, all briefs must be filed with the Appellate Division.

The rest of the pension and benefits lawsuit is currently before Judge Jacobson. The Attorney General is expected to send the judge a position paper on certain legal issues.

Check back regularly for new developments regarding the case.