City of Miami v. Gates, No. 91-72

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation592 So.2d 749
Decision Date14 January 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-72
PartiesCITY OF MIAMI, Appellant, v. Leonard L. GATES, etc., et al., Appellees. 592 So.2d 749, 17 Fla. L. Week. D254

Page 749

592 So.2d 749
CITY OF MIAMI, Appellant,
v.
Leonard L. GATES, etc., et al., Appellees.
No. 91-72.
592 So.2d 749, 17 Fla. L. Week. D254
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Third District.
Jan. 14, 1992.

Page 750

Jorge L. Fernandez, City Attorney, Ramon Irizarri, and Kathryn S. Pecko, Asst. City Attys., and Jay M. Levy, Miami, for appellant.

Williams & Zientz and Mark Zientz, Miami, Atkinson Jenne Diner Stone Cohen & Klausner, Hollywood, Richard A. Sicking, Joseph C. Segor, Robert H. Crary, Miami, Cypen & Cypen and Stephen H. Cypen, Miami Beach, for appellees.

Before BARKDULL, HUBBART and COPE, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

The City of Miami appeals an order of the circuit court denying the City's motion to enforce a final judgment and to hold appellees in contempt of court. The question presented is whether a 1985 class action settlement bars class members from making claims for reimbursement of benefits in reliance on Barragan v. City of Miami, 545 So.2d 252 (Fla.1989). We conclude that it does not and affirm the ruling of the trial court.

In 1977 the appellee plaintiffs 1 brought a class action against the City of Miami, alleging that

the city had improperly diverted ad valorem tax revenues which had been specifically authorized and assessed for the pension system. Count III involved the claim that, between 1958 and 1967, the city had used such funds for the payment of the judgments against it which were affirmed in City of Miami v. Carter, 105 So.2d 5 (Fla.1958) and City of Miami v. Hall, 105 So.2d 499 (Fla. 3d DCA 1958). Count IV contended that, within the preceding three years, the city had used these revenues to meet its statutory obligations to pay workmen's compensation benefits.

City of Miami v. Gates, 393 So.2d 586, 587 (Fla. 3d DCA) (footnote omitted), review denied, 402 So.2d 608 (Fla.1981). This court affirmed a partial summary judgment in plaintiffs' favor.

In 1985 the class action was settled. The settlement ended the objected-to funding practices. It called for a multi-year program for the City to fund its unfunded pension liabilities. It also made a number of changes in the administration of the City's pension systems. After notice to the class of City of Miami employees, 2 the circuit court approved the settlement.

The present controversy arises primarily out of paragraph 8(B) of the final judgment, which bars certain litigation by class members. Paragraph 8 provides:

8. All members of the class, ... except those persons who have chosen to opt out of the class, are hereby severally barred and permanently enjoined from prosecuting ...:

B. Any class wide claim relating to employee pensions including claims arising from the application or interpretation of past or presently existing pension ordinances, where the facts giving rise to such claims are known to the member of the class seeking to make the claim as of the date of entry of this Final Judgment or, if that member of the class had exercised due diligence, would have been discovered as of such date; ....

(Emphasis added.)

At the time of the settlement a City ordinance had for many years provided that workers' compensation benefits payable

Page 751

on account of disability or death would be offset against, and payable in lieu of, any benefits payable by the City retirement system on account of the same disability or death. Sec. 40-212(N), Miami City Code. This ordinance was mandated by a provision in the workers' compensation law, see Sec. 440.09(4), Fla.Stat. (1971), beginning with its enactment in 1935. Ch. 17481, Sec. 9, Laws of Fla.

In 1973 subsection 440.09(4), Fla.Stat. (1971), was repealed. Ch. 73-127, Sec. 2, Laws of Fla. The Miami City Code provision was retained intact and the City continued to make the pension offsets called for thereby.

After 1973, the offset provision of the City ordinance was challenged on several occasions. This court concluded that the repeal of subsection 440.09(4) did not invalidate the City's offset ordinance, and that the offset ordinance should be deemed to be within the scope of the City's...

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1 practice notes
  • City of Miami v. McLean, No. 91-2155
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 30, 1992
    ...raised by the City of Miami are without merit. City of Miami v. Bell, 606 So.2d 1183 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992); Gates v. City of Miami, 592 So.2d 749 (Fla. 3d...
1 cases
  • City of Miami v. McLean, No. 91-2155
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 30, 1992
    ...raised by the City of Miami are without merit. City of Miami v. Bell, 606 So.2d 1183 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992); Gates v. City of Miami, 592 So.2d 749 (Fla. 3d...

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