Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Retiree Support Group of Contra Costa County v. Contra Costa County

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 17, 2016




         Before the Court is a Motion to Intervene filed by Proposed Intervenors AFSCME Local 2700, AFSCME Local 512, AFSCME Retiree Subchapter 142, and Richard Cabral ("Proposed Intervenors"). ECF No. 150. Both Plaintiff Retiree Support Group of Contra Costa County ("RSG") and Defendant Contra Costa County ("County") oppose the motion. The Court concludes that the motion is untimely and therefore denies it.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual and Procedural History

         Proposed Intervenors seek to intervene in this case in order to object to a proposed settlement between RSG and the County. The Court recently granted a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement.

         RSG is a non-profit organization that promotes and protects the welfare, benefits, and interests of retired employees of the County ("retirees") and their dependents. Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 43 ("SAC") ¶¶ 3, 20. Some but not all of the retirees were represented by unions during their employment with the County. Id. ¶ 3.

         RSG alleges that the County promised the retirees that they would receive retiree health care benefits for themselves and their dependents if they met certain criteria, and that the County would pay for 80% or more of the costs of these benefits for at least one plan for the lifetime of the retirees ("the 80% promise"). Id. 1. In exchange for the 80% promise, the retirees "gave up wage increases and other employment compensation and benefits, " such as cost of living adjustments. Id. ¶¶ 1, 40. RSG alleges that the 80% promise is contained in implied terms of several Memoranda of Understanding ("MOU") that were ratified through resolutions by the County's Board of Supervisors and in the resolutions themselves. RSG alleges that the County's intent to create vested retiree health benefits in accordance with the 80% promise is evinced by extrinsic evidence, including the testimony of labor representatives and County officials who negotiated the agreements containing the 80% promise, statements made by members of the Board of Supervisors, and benefit materials and booklets. Id. ¶¶ 21-27.

         The Board resolutions pertaining to unrepresented employees contain express provisions stating that retirees would be able to retain their health benefits after entering retirement. Id. ¶¶ 35-37. The 80% promise allegedly is contained in the implied terms of the resolutions. SAC ¶ 42. RSG alleges that the County's intent to create vested retiree health benefits per the 80% promise is evinced by the County's practice of "mirror[ing] the retiree health benefits provided to unrepresented management employees to the benefits negotiated by its represented employees, " and by the same extrinsic evidence discussed above with respect to the represented employees. Id. ¶¶ 36, 21-27.

         RSG alleges that the County breached the 80% promise beginning on January 1, 2010, when it capped its contribution to the retirees' health benefits to a flat dollar amount. Id. ¶¶ 2, 43. This increased the retirees' share of the costs of their health benefits and shifted future cost increases onto the retirees. Id. RSG brings six claims against the County: (1) breach of contract, (2) impairment of contract under the California Constitution, (3) impairment of contract under the United States Constitution, (4) promissory estoppel, (5) due process violations under the California Constitution, and (6) due process violations under the United States Constitution. RSG seeks injunctive and declaratory relief that would require the County to fulfill its obligations under the 80% promise. Id. ¶ 3.

         In early 2015, the case was referred to mediation. ECF No. 115. The parties participated in two days of mediation in July and August of 2015 before the Honorable Ronald M. Sabraw. ECF No. 137 at 13. Plaintiff then filed a motion for leave to file a Third Amended Complaint and to conditionally certify and preliminary approve the proposed class action settlement, on March 17, 2016. ECF No. 137. The motion was unopposed. The proposed settlement provides that the County will offer eligible retirees and dependents "the same health plans and plan providers as the County provides for active County employees at any given time, " and that it will pay up to a "Maximum Fixed Monthly Premium" for these plans, which the parties allege represents approximately 71.9% of 2016 premiums for the least expensive offered plans. ECF No. 137 at 14-15, 24.

         B. Proposed Intervenors' Allegations

         Proposed Intervenors first filed an administrative motion requesting a hearing date and briefing schedule for objections and an intervention motion, ECF No. 144, which was opposed by both parties, ECF Nos. 145, 146. Because Proposed Intervenors had not yet filed a motion to intervene, their administrative motion was denied. ECF No. 149. Proposed Intervenors subsequently filed this motion to intervene on April 22, 2016. ECF No. 150. Both parties oppose the motion. ECF Nos. 151, 155.

         Proposed Intervenors allege that they represent and consist of current and former County employees who will be affected by the settlement. AFSCME Local 512 is the exclusive collective bargaining representative for a unit "consisting of engineering technicians, income maintenance program employees, clerical supervisory employees, social service staff specialists, probation supervisors, and property appraiser staff employed by the County." ECF No. 150 at 7. AFSCME Local 2700, similarly, represents a unit of general clerical employees. Id. AFSCME Retiree Chapter 142 is "a membership organization affiliated with AFSCME, " and "its members include retirees who were members of either Local 512 or Local 2700 bargaining units when they were active employees with the County." Id. Finally, Richard Cabral is a member of Retiree Chapter 142. Id. Proposed Intervenors have previously alleged that both Cabral and the membership of AFSCME Retiree Chapter 142 are included in the proposed class. ECF No. 144 at 3.

         According to Proposed Intervenors, the two AFSCME Locals have negotiated collective bargaining agreements established in "Memoranda of Understanding" ("MOUs") with the County on the terms of conditions of the employees they represent when they retire. ECF No. 150 at 7. The MOU for Local 512 is in effect through June 30, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.