Status Report 11/22/11
Orange County Opinion:
The California Supreme Court has decided that an implied contract with a state agency can exist. The first paragraph of the opinion is:
“At the request of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, we address the following abstract question: “Whether, as a matter of California law, a California county and its employees can form an implied contract that confers vested rights to health benefits on retired county employees.” For the reasons that follow, we conclude that a county may be bound by an implied contract under California law if there is no legislative prohibition against such arrangements, such as a statute or ordinance.”
That opinion probably will allow us to win our appeal of UC’s Demurrer. The complete opinion has been added to our Web Site Information Archive under Legal Filings.
The Court did not assert that Orange County Retirees had an implied contract, leaving that decision to the Ninth Circuit. I expect that we will still have to show that we have an implied contract to prevail. Orange County retirees are in a situation similar to ours, having been split from an Employee-Retiree medical insurance pool to form an Employee pool and a Retiree pool. They don’t have the complication of benefits being provided by a different entity (LLNS).
The Appeals Court has approved our 60-day extension of time to file our appeal. Our estimate is that that will put Orange County about 3 months ahead of us in the legal process so we may get a preview of our fate looking at their results. Since they are in Federal Court and we are in State Court, they will not set a precedent we can use, but it might be possible to use some of their arguments at a later date.