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Brief of Respondent City of St. Louis

Brief of Respondent City of St. Louis

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City's brief

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Published by: St. Louis Public Radio on Mar 11, 2014
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04/07/2014

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IN THE MISSOURI COURT OF APPEALSEASTERN DISTRICT No. ED100209The Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis, et al.,andInternational Association of Fire Fighters Local 73, et al.,Plaintiffs/Appellants,v.The City of St. Louis,Defendant/Respondent.On Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, MissouriThe Honorable Robert H. Dierker, Circuit Court Judge
BRIEF OF RESPONDENT CITY OF ST. LOUIS
THOMPSON COBURN LLPStephen B. Higgins, #25728Paul G. Griesemer, #24138Amanda J. Hettinger, #55038One US Bank PlazaSt. Louis, MO 63101Phone: (314) 552-6000Fax: (314) 552-7000shiggins@thompsoncoburn.com pgriesemer@thompsoncoburn.comahettinger@thompsoncoburn.comMichael A. Garvin, #39817Room 3141200 Market StreetSt. Louis, MO 63103Phone: (314) 622-3361Fax: (314) 622-4956garvinm@stlouiscity.comAttorneys for Respondent the City of St. Louis
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TABLEOFCONTENTSPage(s)STATEMENTOFFACTS
.................................................................................1A. Benefits Under and Operation of the Dual-Plan System..............................3B. Basis of the Relationship between Firefighters and the Systems................11C. Funding the Dual-Plan System..................................................................12
POINTSRELIEDONRESPONDENT’S BRIEF
........................................14I. THE CIRCUIT COURT DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT BOARDBILLS 12, 109 AND 270 WERE LAWFUL EXERCISES OF THE CITY’SHOME RULE AUTHORITY IN THAT ARTICLE VI, § 25 OF THEMISSOURI CONSTITUTION CONFERS UPON THE CITY THE RIGHTTO ENACT THE FRP AND IF THE STATE DENIED THE CITY THISRIGHT, ARTICLE VI, § 22 OF THE MISSOURI CONSTITUTIONWOULD BE VIOLATED. (RESPONDING TO APPELLANTS’ POINTSRELIED ON I, II, AND III)......................................................................14II. THE CIRCUIT COURT DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT BOARDBILLS 12, 109, AND 270 DO NOT VIOLATE THE CONTRACTCLAUSES OF THE UNITED STATES AND MISSOURICONSTITUTIONS IN THAT THERE IS NO CONTRACT BETWEENTHE CITY AND ITS FIREFIGHTERS FOR BENEFITS ACCRUED DUETO SERVICE NOT YET PERFORMED AND EVEN IF THERE WERE,THE BENEFIT CHANGES EFFECTED BY THE ORDINANCES DO NOT CONSTITUTE A SUBSTANTIAL IMPAIRMENT. (RESPONDINGTO APPELLANTS’ POINTS RELIED ON IV AND V)...........................15
ARGUMENT
.....................................................................................................16I. THE CIRCUIT COURT DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT BOARDBILLS 12, 109 AND 270 WERE LAWFUL EXERCISES OF THE CITY’SHOME RULE AUTHORITY IN THAT ARTICLE VI, § 25 OF THEMISSOURI CONSTITUTION CONFERS UPON THE CITY THE RIGHTTO ENACT THE FRP AND IF THE STATE DENIED THE CITY THISRIGHT, ARTICLE VI, § 22 OF THE MISSOURI CONSTITUTIONWOULD BE VIOLATED. (RESPONDING TO APPELLANTS’ POINTSRELIED ON I, II, AND III)......................................................................161. The Circuit Court was correct in finding that the City has the right torepeal the FRS.......................................................................................202. The City has home rule power to implement the FRP............................24
 
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iiia. The City has the home rule authority to enact the FRP because theGeneral Assembly has the power to create pension systems, and theCity’s charter authorizes it to do so....................................................25 b. The FRP is valid because it does not conflict with any State law........28i. Both the plain language of the FRS Statutes and the case lawinterpreting them support their non-exclusive nature ......................30ii. The history and purpose surrounding the enactment of the FRSStatutes supports that no conflict exists between them andthe FRP.........................................................................................37iii. If the FRS Statutes are exclusive, they violate Article VI, §22 of theMissouri Constitution.....................................................................39iv. Public policy supports that the FRS Statutes are not the exclusiveavenue for the City to create a pension system for its firefighters ...41II. THE CIRCUIT COURT DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT BOARDBILLS 12, 109, AND 270 DO NOT VIOLATE THE CONTRACTCLAUSES OF THE UNITED STATES AND MISSOURICONSTITUTIONS IN THAT THERE IS NO CONTRACT BETWEENTHE CITY AND ITS FIREFIGHTERS FOR BENEFITS ACCRUED DUETO SERVICE NOT YET PERFORMED AND EVEN IF THERE WERE,THE BENEFIT CHANGES EFFECTED BY THE ORDINANCES DO NOT CONSTITUTE A SUBSTANTIAL IMPAIRMENT. (RESPONDINGTO APPELLANTSPOINTS RELIED ON IV AND V)...........................421. The City’s firefighters do not accrue benefits until service is performed 442. No contract exists between the City and its firefighters with respect tofuture pension accruals or contributions.................................................47a. Missouri law confirms that no contract exists obligating the City to paya certain level of retirement benefits for service not yet performed as of the Effective Date ..............................................................................50 b. Appellants’ reliance on cases from other jurisdictions is misplaced....573. The FRP does not result in a substantial impairment..............................66a. There is no substantial impairment with respect to firefighters withmore than twenty years of service as of the Effective Date.................69 b. There is no substantial impairment with respect to firefighters with lessthan twenty years of service as of the Effective Date..........................724. The plain language of the FRP does not support Appellants’ remainingarguments with respect to the Contract Clauses .....................................73
CONCLUSION
..................................................................................................77
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