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Maine Ass'n of Retirees v. Board of Trustees of Maine Pub. Emples. Ret. Sys.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

June 27, 2014

MAINE ASSOCIATION OF RETIREES; SALLY MORRISSEY; DOROTHY DAVIS; CATHERINE RICHARD; PAUL LYNCH; MAINE STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION; RONA BACKSTROM; KATHLEEN KADI; ROBERT RUHLIN, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE MAINE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM; PETER M. LESLIE, individually and in his official capacity as Chairman for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; BENEDETTO VIOLA, individually and in his official capacity as Vice Chairman for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; CATHERINE R. SULLIVAN, individually and in her official capacity as member for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; RICHARD T. METIVIER, individually and in his official capacity as member for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; GEORGE A. BURGOYNE, individually and in his official capacity as member for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; KENNETH L. WILLIAMS, individually and in his official capacity as member for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; NERIA DOUGLASS, individually and in her official capacity as Treasurer for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; BRIAN H. NOYES, individually and in his official capacity as Treasurer for Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, Defendants, Appellees MAINE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION; ROBERT WALKER; PHILIP GONYAR; MAINE STATE TROOPERS ASSOCIATION; CRAIG POULIN; TIMOTHY CULBERT, Plaintiffs,

Page 24

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE. Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge.

James T. Kilbreth, with whom George Royle V, Drummond Woodsum, Jeffrey Neil Young, Carol J. Garvan, and McTeague Higbee were on brief, for appellants.

Timothy C. Woodcock, with whom Adria Y. LaRose and Eaton Peabody were on brief, for appellees.

Gregory G. Katsas, Craig I. Chosiad, and Jones Day on brief for Maine Heritage Policy Center, amicus curiae.

Before Thompson, Circuit Judge, Souter,[*] Associate Justice, and Stahl, Circuit Judge.

OPINION

Page 25

STAHL, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiffs appeal from the district court's grant of summary judgment on their claims that certain amendments to Maine's public employee retirement system violate the Contract and Takings Clauses of the United States Constitution. After careful consideration, we affirm.

I. Facts & Background

Plaintiffs are the Maine Association of Retirees and the Maine State Employees Association (and several individual members of each).[1] The district court also certified the following class:

All retired State of Maine employees and public school teachers whose final termination of service occurred before June 20, 2011, and who had become eligible to receive service retirement benefits from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System no later than that date.

Defendants are the Board of Trustees of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System and individual officers and members thereof, named in both their individual and official capacities. Plaintiffs allege that their contractual rights were impaired by certain amendments to the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MePERS) that had the effect of decreasing the

Page 26

cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) they otherwise would have received under the pre-amendment law.

The district court provided a thorough review of the legislative history of MePERS and its predecessors, see Me. Ass'n of Retirees v. Bd. of Trs. of Me. Pub. Emps. Ret. Sys.,954 F.Supp.2d 38, 41-46 (D. Me. 2013), and we need not repeat it here to answer the narrow question before us: whether Plaintiffs have a contractual right to cost-of-living adjustments calculated according to ...


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