CSEA Retiree News Fall 2018
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     NEWS Danny Donohue, President FALL 2018
  Federal court decides in state retiree health insurance lawsuit; CSEA to appeal
Editor’s Note: The lawsuit discussed in this article affects ONLY New York State Executive Branch and Unified Court System retirees who retired between 1983 and 2011.
AU.S. District Court judge recently sided with the state in our class action lawsuit claiming the state illegally raised health insurance costs for retired New York state Executive Branch and Unified Court System employees.
 CSEA plans to continue standing with our retiree members and appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
“We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but we are not ending our fight to find justice for our affected retirees,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “We are determined to continue standing up for our members and
all state retirees who have been financially harmed by these increases.”
In December 2011, CSEA and a coalition
of other unions filed a federal lawsuit after the state increased the health insurance contribution percentage for state retirees who retired between 1983 and 2011, including thousands of CSEA members. Our union did not negotiate the health insurance increases.
Through our in-house Legal Department, which has been working on this case since its initial filing, our union has steadfastly sought justice for retirees in this case, as well as other instances in which former employers unilaterally raise health insurance rates or cut coverage.
The lawsuit claimed that the state violated the contracts that were in effect between CSEA and the state on the date when each retiree retired, as well as the Contracts Clause of the
From left, CSEA Executive Vice President Mary E. Sullivan, Retiree Program Specialist
Christine Meehan, Retiree Executive Committee (REC) Vice Chair Charlotte Adkins, REC Chair
Millie Lucas and REC Secretary Jack Rohl review the details of the recent federal court decision on state retiree health insurance as CSEA Senior Associate Counsel Jennifer Zegarelli discusses the case.
U.S. Constitution, when the state raised retiree contributions in October 2011.
Retirees have long contributed a percentage for both individual and family health insurance coverage in retirement based on the percentages included in the state contracts when they retired.
Our union and others involved in the case asserted that it is illegal for the state to increase costs for already retired members, and the unions did not negotiate such increases.
In December 2017, CSEA filed a motion for summary judgment, a decision based on the merits of the case without going to a full trial, but there are no guarantees.
In that motion, our union cited the facts
that came out during the discovery phase of the litigation that demonstrate CSEA members that retired were entitled to a fixed percentage of what they were required to pay in health insurance premiums.
On Sept. 24, 2018, a federal judge denied our motion for summary judgment and granted the state’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.
The court noted that the language contained in the contracts was clear and unambiguous and that there is no language providing for
a fixed level of premium contribution in retirement.
We are appealing because we believe the judge’s decision was incorrectly decided.

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