Ashley Dunning Discusses Impact of Alameda Decision, Appeals Courts Revisiting California Rule Cases

Pensions & Investments

Ashley Dunning was quoted in the Pensions & Investments article, “Appeals courts to revisit ‘California Rule’ cases.” The article described the California Supreme Court’s orders that resulted in returning “four remaining cases concerning the . . . California Rule back to the state Courts of Appeal.” These cases had been in a holding pattern pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in another case involving the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association, Contra Costa Employees’ Retirement Association and Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association (Alameda). The Court released its opinion in the Alameda case on July 30, 2020, analyzing and applying the California Rule, which is “used to determine the degree to which [statutory terms of] public employee pension plans for existing employees can be changed.”

Discussing the impact of the Alameda ruling, Ashley said, “As the California Supreme Court recognized in the Alameda case, the county retirement boards subject to the California pension reform law have historically applied the underlying statutes in somewhat different ways from one another.”

She added, “The Alameda Court clarified that boards have less discretion in that regard than was originally thought. Because of those historic differences, though, the boards’ initial implementation of Alameda will not be uniform. They are starting the process from different places.”

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