766 Fed.Appx. 16 (5th Cir. 2019), 18-10423, Degan v. Board of Trustees of Dallas Police & Fire Pension System
|Citation:||766 Fed.Appx. 16|
|Opinion Judge:||PER CURIAM:|
|Party Name:||LaDonna DEGAN; Ric Terrones; John McGuire; Reed Higgins; Mike Gurley; Larry Eddington; Steven McBride, Plaintiffs-Appellants v. The BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF the DALLAS POLICE AND FIRE PENSION SYSTEM, Defendant-Appellee|
|Attorney:||David M. Feldman, Shannon Rashida Smittick, Feldman & Feldman, P.C., Houston, TX, Kirk Louis Pittard, Esq., Kelly, Durham & Pittard, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, for Plaintiffs-Appellants David Harlan Harper, Attorney, Kelli Benham Bills, Nina Cortell, Jason Neal Jordan, Benjamin Lee Mesches, Haynes & Boo...|
|Judge Panel:||Before BARKSDALE, SOUTHWICK, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||March 20, 2019|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
Please Refer Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1. See also U.S.Ct. of App. 5th Cir. Rules 28.7 and 47.5.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, USDC No. 3:17-CV-1596
David M. Feldman, Shannon Rashida Smittick, Feldman & Feldman, P.C., Houston, TX, Kirk Louis Pittard, Esq., Kelly, Durham & Pittard, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, for Plaintiffs-Appellants
David Harlan Harper, Attorney, Kelli Benham Bills, Nina Cortell, Jason Neal Jordan, Benjamin Lee Mesches, Haynes & Boone, L.L.P., Dallas, TX, for Defendant-Appellee
Christopher John Caso, Esq., Assistant City Attorney, James Bickford Pinson, Assistant City Attorney, City Attorneys Office for the City of Dallas, Dallas, TX, for Amicus Curiae City of Dallas, Texas
Before BARKSDALE, SOUTHWICK, and HAYNES, Circuit Judges.
Several beneficiaries of the City of Dallas pension fund for police and firefighters (collectively "Plaintiffs") sued the City over changes to the pension fund they contend violate the United States and Texas Constitutions. Because we conclude that the Texas constitutional questions should be certified to the Supreme Court of Texas and that the resolution of those questions will impact the case as a whole, we certify the questions set forth below and stay the remainder of the case pending the outcome in the Supreme Court of Texas (i.e., whether certification is accepted and, if it is, what result is reached).
We briefly discuss the facts and the arguments and then articulate the certified question.
The City of Dallas has provided its police and firefighters a pension fund program since at least 1997. The pension fund was created in accordance with state law and is administered by the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System ("the Board").
Among the advantages of the pension fund are Deferred Retirement Option Plans or DROP accounts. DROP accounts are a statutory creation of the Texas legislature. See TEX. REV. CIV. STAT. ANN. art. 6243a-1, § 6.14 (2011). They were created for City employees who reach retirement age but who elect to continue working. See id. § 6.14(a). Rather than retiring and receiving the pension funds they would be entitled to, employees continue working and the money they would have received each month under the pension is credited to an individual DROP account. See id. § 6.14(c). There, the employees money continues to garner interest. See id. § 6.14(c). Once employees leave active service, they begin receiving their monthly pension payments instead of the payments being credited to the DROP account. Id. § 6.14(a). They can also begin accessing the...
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