If you have received retirement benefits from the San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association and retired on or after April 1, 1982, and before January 1, 2001, (or you are the beneficiary of someone who has), a class action lawsuit may affect your rights.
This is a court-ordered notice. It is not from a lawyer, and you are not being sued.
Retirees from the County of San Joaquin County (“Plaintiff Retirees”) have sued the San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association and its Board of Retirement (“SJCERA”) on behalf of themselves and others. Plaintiff Retirees allege that from 2001 to 2018 SJCERA earned sufficient “excess earnings” to transfer more money than they did to a supplemental benefit reserve (“Post-’82 Reserve”), and they claim those transfers were required under a settlement agreement entered into in 2001 between SJCERA, the County of San Joaquin (“County”) and a class of SJCERA members (“2001 Agreement”). Plaintiff Retirees allege that because such additional funds were not transferred to the Post-’82 Reserve since 2001, the supplemental benefit paid from the Post-’82 Reserve (“Post-’82 Benefit”) to SJCERA members who retired on or after April 1, 1982 and before January 1, 2001, and their beneficiaries (the “Post-’82 Group”) was suspended from 2006-2007 and again in 2017 in alleged breach of the 2001 Agreement.
The Plaintiff Retirees’ Second Amended Complaint (“Complaint”) against SJCERA is available for you to review on the internet at
Defendants SJCERA and its Board of Retirement (“Board”) (collectively, “SJCERA”) deny these allegations and assert all funds were handled appropriately and that the 2001 Agreement did not prohibit the 17 years of administrative actions the Board has taken, including actuarial funding, reserving, budgetary, and other policy decisions, about which Plaintiff Retirees now complain. SJCERA also contends that the lawsuit is barred by the statute of limitations, the doctrine of laches, and similar reasons.
SJCERA’s Answer to the Complaint is available for you to review on the internet at
|LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS OF THE POST-’82 GROUP IN THIS LAWSUIT|
Stay in this lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights.
By doing nothing, members of the Post-’82 Group stay in the litigation. The Court has appointed Class Counsel to pursue the interests of the Post-’82 Group in the Post-’82 Benefit. In doing so, members of the Post-’82 Group will be part of the existing class of plaintiffs (“Class”) and will be bound by any court-approved determination, whether in favor of the Class or not. But, members of the Post-’82 Class give up any rights to sue SJCERA separately about the legal claims in this lawsuit, including related defenses asserted by SJCERA.
|ASK TO BE EXCLUDED||
Post-’82 Group members have the right to exclude themselves, or “opt out,” from the Class. If a Post-’82 Group member asks to be excluded, that individual won’t receive benefits from, or be bound by, the decision in the case. But, the individual keeps any rights to sue SJCERA separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit. An individual who “opts out” but wishes to sue SJCERA on the topics in the Complaint will need to retain a lawyer to pursue those claims. To be excluded, Post-’82 Group members must complete an “Exclusion Request” using the form in this Notice.
|APPEAR IN THE LAWSUIT||
Hire a different lawyer. Stay in this lawsuit.
Members of the Post-’82 Group have the right to stay in the lawsuit and be represented by a lawyer of their own choosing. Such “opt out” members will need to retain their own lawyer and Class Counsel will not represent them.
Retirees from the County of San Joaquin County (“Plaintiff Retirees”) have sued the San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association and its Board of Retirement (“SJCERA”) on behalf of themselves and others who are “similarly situated.” Plaintiff Retirees allege that SJCERA failed to properly fund a supplemental benefit reserve (“Post-’82 Reserve”) between 2001 and 2018, and as a result improperly suspended supplemental benefits payment to SJCERA members who retired on or after April 1, 1982 and before January 1, 2001, and their beneficiaries (the “Post-’82 Group”) in breach of a 2001 settlement agreement between the County, SJCERA and a class of active, deferred and retired SJCERA members (“2001 Agreement”).
SJCERA denies these allegations and asserts that the 2001 Agreement does not require the actions that Plaintiff Retirees’ claim. SJCERA also contends that SJCERA had no additional “surplus” or “excess” earnings each year between 2001-2018.
The Plaintiffs’ latest Complaint can be viewed at post82classaction.com/complaint.2. Why Am I Getting This Letter?
This notice explains that the Court has allowed, or “certified,” a class action lawsuit on behalf of a Post-’82 Class. The Court also appointed Class Counsel to pursue the interests of the Post-’82 Class in this case. Members of the Post-’82 Class have legal rights and options that must be exercised before the Court makes a final decision on the merits in this case. Judge Carter Holly of the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Joaquin is overseeing this class action. The lawsuit is known as Allum, et al. v. San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association, et al., Case No. STK-CV-UBC-2017-10696.3. What is a Class Action and Who is Involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case Edward Allum and Pauline Toy) sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The individuals who sued—and the Class Members like them—are called the Plaintiffs. The organization they sued (in this case SJCERA) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class—except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.4. Why is this a Class Action?
Plaintiffs asserted that class action was proper because:
The Defendant and Cross-Defendant County did not oppose class certification. As such, the Court certified the class.
SJCERA denies all of the Plaintiffs’ claims. SJCERA is asserting that the 2001 Agreement does not mean what Plaintiff Retirees now claim, and that SJCERA does not have “surplus” or “excess” earnings as defined by the Agreement to provide the Post-’82 Benefit. SJCERA’s Answer to the Complaint may be viewed at post82classaction.com/answer.6.Has the Court Decided Who is Right?
The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiffs or SJCERA are correct. By establishing the Class and issuing this Notice, the Court is not suggesting that the Plaintiffs will win or lose this case. The Plaintiffs must prove their claims, and SJCERA has asserted that they cannot prove them.7.What are Plaintiffs and Defendants Asking For?
Plaintiffs are asking for damages, and attorneys fees and costs, against SJCERA. Generally, Plaintiffs’ claims include payment of benefits which Plaintiffs claim SJCERA should have paid, plus interest. Plaintiffs also seek declaratory and injunctive relief requiring SJCERA to contribute the additional funds into the Post’-82 Reserve to reinstate retroactive and prospective monthly payments to the Class members. Further, Plaintiffs request declaratory and injunctive relief to determine that portions of the November 2012 and June 2017 Statement of Reserve Policies are in conflict with the Settlement Agreement and that these documents constitute a violation of the 2001 Agreement and a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Plaintiffs seek further declaratory and injunctive relief determining that portions of the October 2009, October 2011, and July 2018 Statement of Funding Policies that Plaintiffs claim are in conflict with the 2001 Agreement along with a determination that these documents constitute a violation of contract and a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Finally, Plaintiffs ask for an accounting of the Post-’82 Reserve from the date of its inception to the present time, pre-judgment and post judgment interest on all proceeds awarded, attorneys’ fees and costs and any other relief as the court may deem proper.
Defendants are requesting that the case be dismissed by Motion for Summary Judgment or at trial. Defendants also have substantial recoverable costs that they will seek to recover if they prevail.8. Is there Any Money Available Now?
No. The Court has not yet decided whether Plaintiffs or SJCERA is right. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained for the Class.
Members of the Post-’82 Group need to decide whether they wish to participate in this lawsuit either as a member of the Post-’82 Class or otherwise.9. Am I a part of this Class?
The Post-’82 Group includes all individuals who retired from employment on or after April 1, 1982 and before January 1, 2001 (“Post-’82 Retirees”), with San Joaquin County or the following SJCERA participating employers: (i) Lathrop-Manteca Rural Fire Protection District; (ii) Mountain House Community Services District; (iii) San Joaquin Local Agency Formation Commission; (iv) San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum; (v) San Joaquin County Law Library; (vi) San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District; (vii) San Joaquin County Superior Court; (viii) Tracy Public Cemetery District; and (ix) Waterloo-Morada Rural Fire Protection District (“Participating Employers”). In addition, the beneficiaries of the Post-’82 Retirees who received the Post-’82 Benefit from Defendant SJCERA prior to SJCERA’s suspension of payments, are part of the Post-’82 Group.
If you are a member of the Post-’82 Group, you will be a part of this Class unless you “opt out” as described in the Notice.10. Is there anyone who is an SJCERA retiree who is excluded from the Class?
Yes. People who did not retire from San Joaquin County or one of the other Participating Employers during the time period in question are NOT Class Members.
Post-’82 Class members may ask to be excluded before the Court issues a final ruling in the case.11. What happens if Post-’82 Class Members do nothing at all?
By doing nothing Post-’82 Class Members are staying in the Class. If Post-’82 Class Members stay in and the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits as a result of the lawsuit, they will be notified. Keep in mind that if members of the Post-’82 Class do nothing now, regardless of whether the Plaintiffs win or lose the trial, they will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, SJCERA—as part of any other lawsuit—about the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit.12. Why would a member of the Post-’82 Group ask to be excluded?
If members of the Post-’82 Group exclude themselves from the Class—which is sometimes called “opting-out” of the Class—they will not be legally bound by the Court’s judgments in this class action, either in favor of the Class or against it.
If a member of the Post-’82 Group starts his or her own lawsuit against SJCERA after “opting out” from this litigation, that individual will have to hire and pay his or her own lawyer for that lawsuit, and prove those claims. If members of the Post-’82 Group wish to exclude themselves, they should talk to their own lawyer soon, because their claims may be barred by a statute of limitations.13. Can members of the Post-’82 Group stay in this lawsuit and hire their own lawyer to represent them?
Yes, members of the Post-’82 Group can hire their own lawyer to represent them in this lawsuit. That lawyer will need to notify the Court and appear for you in this lawsuit. Class Counsel will not represent anyone who “opts out”.14. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class?
To ask to be excluded, a member of the Post-’82 Group must send an “Exclusion Request” in the form of a letter sent by mail. The Exclusion Request letter should include the following information:
My name is [name]. I am a member of the Post-’82 Group. My address is [address]. I want to be excluded from Allum, et al. v. San Joaquin County Employees’ Retirement Association, et al.
Exclusion Request letters must be signed and must be postmarked by June 13, 2019, and sent to:
The Court approved C. Brooks Cutter and John R. Parker, Jr., of Cutter Law, P.C. of Sacramento, California and Richard Chiurazzi to represent all Post-’82 Class Members. Together, these attorneys are called “Class Counsel.” They are experienced in handling class action lawsuits. More information about the law firm, its practices, and its attorneys’ experience is available at www.cutterlaw.com.16. Should members of the Post-’82 Group get their own lawyer?
Members of the Post-’82 Group who want to be part of this litigation do not need to hire their own lawyer because Class Counsel has been appointed by the Court to work on behalf of all Post-’82 Class Members regarding their interest in the Post-’82 Benefit.17. How will the lawyers for the Post-’82 Group be paid?
If Class Counsel prevails, they will ask the Court for fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsels’ request, the fees and expenses would either be deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by SJCERA.
SJCERA has filed a motion for summary judgment, and/or adjudication (MSJ) that is scheduled for hearing on June 14, 2019 in the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin, 180 E. Weber Avenue, Stockton, CA 95202, in Department 10B. If the Court grants the MSJ in favor of SJCERA, then the case will be decided without a trial subject only to a potential appeal by Plaintiffs. If the Court denies the MSJ, then SJCERA will either appeal that denial, or the case will proceed to trial.
If you are member of the Post-’82 Class, you may speak to one of the Class counsel by calling (916) 290-9400, or by writing to: SJCERA Class Action, 401 Watt Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95864.
DATE: April 4, 2019