Hanson Bridgett secures two unanimous appellate decisions


A Hanson Bridgett team led by partners Raymond Lynch, Matthew Peck, and Judith Boyette secured two unanimous appellate decisions in favor of clients, the City of San Jose, the city manager and the Board of the Federated City Employees Retirement System.

“This case was procedurally complex and hotly litigated,” said partner Raymond Lynch. “It was a complete team victory, resulting in two successful summary judgment motions following extensive written and deposition discovery.”

In July 2017, a group of 19 retired employees from the City of San Jose, including five attorneys, alongside a retirement association, initiated legal action against the city. The plaintiffs/appellants sought to compel the city to create and fund an independent supplemental pension plan. This supplemental pension was intended to provide additional pension benefits beyond the limits set by the Internal Revenue Code available under the city’s retirement program, a benefit they argued was owed to them based on the Plan formula and protected under the California Constitution’s vested rights doctrine.

Additionally, the plaintiffs claimed they were owed several million in alleged unpaid benefits. A number of the plaintiffs had previously mistakenly received pension benefits in excess of what was allowed, and plaintiffs sought to recover such benefits as damages under alternative legal theories. These claims were grounded on alternative theories, including promissory and equitable estoppel, as well as breaches of fiduciary duty.

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