United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO INTERVENE Re: ECF No.
TIGAR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
Factual and Procedural History
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Proposed Intervenors' Allegations
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.
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.
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, ...