770 F.2d 773 (9th Cir. 1985), 84-2766, Bunyan v. Camacho

Docket Nº:C.A. No. 84-2766.
Citation:770 F.2d 773
Party Name:William K. BUNYAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Luis M. CAMACHO, Don C. Warner, Bertha L. Duenas, Frank C. Cruz and Jesus B. Paulino, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:September 03, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 773

770 F.2d 773 (9th Cir. 1985)

William K. BUNYAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Luis M. CAMACHO, Don C. Warner, Bertha L. Duenas, Frank C.

Cruz and Jesus B. Paulino, Defendants-Appellees.

C.A. No. 84-2766.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 3, 1985

Argued and Submitted June 13, 1985.

David A. Mair, Mair & Mair, Agana, Guam, for plaintiff-appellant.

J.U. Torres, Agana, Guam, for defendants-appellees.

On Appeal From the United States District Court for the District of Guam.

Before SNEED, BEEZER, Circuit Judges, and RAFEEDIE, [*] District Judge.

Page 774

BEEZER, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from a summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of a Guam statute that grants retroactive retirement credit to local government employees who were Guam residents before they started college. Appellant challenges the district court's holding that the statute is rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose. We reverse.

FACTS

In 1978, the Guam Legislature enacted the following statute:

Any bona fide resident of Guam, who receives his graduate or undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and is employed by the government of Guam, after obtaining such degree, may claim retirement credit equal to the period of time, including vacations, which a full-time student would normally take to complete the program leading to the degree he received, ... by paying to the Fund the appropriate member's and employer's shares ...; provided, however, that this Section shall apply only to those persons:

(a) who received their degrees after June 1, 1945;

(b) who were bona fide residents of Guam at the time they began their undergraduate studies; and

(c) who had been employed by the Government for at least ten (10) years as full-time, locally hired employees.

4 Guam Code Ann. Sec. 8113. Appellant William Bunyan, a high school science teacher who moved to Guam in 1963 after he had already finished college, meets all the statutory requirements for obtaining retroactive retirement credit except that he was not a Guam resident at the time he began his undergraduate studies. He was therefore denied such credit.

Appellant brought a civil rights action against appellees, the members of the Board of Trustees for the Government of Guam Retirement Fund. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. The complaint alleged that subsection (b) of the statute violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and requested declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of appellees, holding that the retrospective application of the statute to persons already employed by the local government was rationally related to the legitimate governmental purpose of

express[ing] the gratitude of the Territory of Guam by conferring benefits to those Guamanian residents who enrolled in college, received an undergraduate or graduate degree, and returned to the Territory of Guam with their specialized knowledge, skill, and training to work for the Government of Guam, prior to the enactment of this statute.

Bunyan appeals.

ANALYSIS

The sole issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in holding that section 8113(b) is rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.

We may affirm the district court's order for summary judgment if, viewing the record in the light most favorable to appellant, there was no genuine issue of material fact and the appellees were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. State of Alaska v. United States, 754 F.2d 851, 853 (9th Cir.1985). We review the order de novo. Id.

Absent a suspect classification or the infringement of a fundamental right, neither of which is alleged to exist here, the equal protection clause is offended only if the statute's different treatment of the two classes of local government employees bears no rational relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. See San Antonio Independent School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 40, 93 S.Ct. 1278, 1300, 36 L.Ed.2d 16 (1973); Parks v. Watson, 716 F.2d 646, 654 (9th Cir.1983). We may hypothesize the possible legislative purposes for enacting the statute, and must uphold it if any legitimate purpose is served. In re Lara, 731 F.2d 1455, 1460 & n. 7 (9th Cir.1984); Brandwein v. California Bd. of

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Osteopathic Examiners, 708 F.2d 1466, 1470-71 (9th Cir.1983); Lamb v. Scripps College, 627 F.2d 1015, 1021 n. 9 (9th Cir.1980).

The district court granted summary judgment solely on the basis of Devereaux v. New York State Teachers' Retirement Board, 75 A.D.2d...

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