Ashley Dunning Noted for Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association Win

Daily Journal

Ashley Dunning was highlighted in the Daily Journal article “Alameda Employees Retirement Group Denies It Overcharged” (subscription required) for her win on behalf of our clients, Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association (ACERA), ACERA’s Board of Retirement and its Chief Executive Officer. Judge Ethan Schulman of the San Francisco Superior Court granted the ACERA respondents’ motion for summary judgment in the case, Alameda Health System et al. v. Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association et al. Ashley served as lead outside counsel on the matter.

The article noted that “Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association [was] defending itself against claims from the Alameda Health System that it systematically overcharged for its actual pension liabilities by millions of dollars annually and undercharged the county” and that ACERA argued that “the current methodology to calculate employer contributions has been in place for over 75 years and found no reason to make changes.”

In granting the motion, Judge Schulman agreed with the ACERA respondents’ assessment, writing that the current way contribution rates for participating employers is calculated “is a common and well-accepted actuarial methodology for funding multiple employer defined benefits plans nationally and in California.”

The Daily Journal also highlighted that during a hearing earlier this week where the parties discussed the tentative ruling granting the retirement association's motion for summary judgment, Ashley quoted from Judge Schulman’s ruling, noting that in reference to ACERA’s Board’s public consideration of the matter, he wrote, “Nothing in the text of the board's Jan. 8, 2018 decision, or in the minutes or transcript of that meeting, suggests that the board members violated their fiduciary duty to members of ACERA or abused their discretion in any way. To the contrary, the record establishes, and the court finds, that ACERA 'adequately considered all relevant factors, and...demonstrated a rational connection between those factors, the choice made, and the purposes of the enabling statute.’”

Judge Schulman concluded that, based on the comprehensive record before him, there was no basis in law for Alameda Health System’s demand that over $100 million in pension liabilities be reassigned retroactively from it to the County of Alameda, nor was there any basis upon which the Court could, or should, order the ACERA Board to do another actuarial study regarding the Alameda Health System’s requests.

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