State ex rel. Phillip v. Public School Retirement System of City of St. Louis, 44038

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation262 S.W.2d 569,364 Mo. 395
Docket NumberNo. 44038,44038
PartiesSTATE ex rel. PHILLIP et al. v. PUBLIC SCHOOL RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF CITY OF ST. LOUIS et al.
Decision Date16 November 1953

Francis M. O'Brien, Stanley R. Schuchat and Floyd D. Stewart, St. Louis, for relators. Jacob M. Lashly, John H. Lashly, Lashly, Lashly & Miller, St. Louis, (Maurice P. Phillips, St. Louis, of counsel), for respondents.

Emmet T. Carter, Gerald K. Presberg, Doris J. Banta, St. Louis, for amicus curiae.

DALTON, Judge.

This is an original proceeding for mandamus. Relators seek to compel respondnets to comply with the provisions of Sec. 169.515 of the Session Laws of the 67th General Assembly 1953, V.A.M.S. Sec. 169.515, by creating the 'Equity Fund' therein referred to by transferring to such fund the amounts provided by said section, all as hereinafter stated. Section 169.515 is a subdivision of Senate Substitute for House Bill No. 164, which purported to be 'An Act to repeal Section 169.410, RSMo 1951 Supp., and sections 169.430, 169.450, 169.490, and 169.510, RSMo 1949, relating to teacher and school employe retirement systems, and to enact five new sections in lieu thereof relating to the same subject, with an emergency clause.' The above mentioned Bill is hereinafter referred to as the Act, or the 1953 Act.

The relators are citizens and resident taxpayers of the City of St. Louis and employees of the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, employed as 'building trade mechanics,' a class of employees excluded from membership and coverage under the Retirement System as modified by the provisions of Sections 169.410(4) and 169.510(3) of the 1953 act. The action is brought as a class action for and on behalf of relators themselves and all other employees of the Board of Education similarly situated who may care to join therein. The respondents are The Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, a corporation, and the individual members of the Board of Trustees of The Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, who are charged with the general administration and responsibility for the proper administration of the Retirement System under the statutory provisions hereinafter referred to. Respondent corporation was created and established by law, as a retirement system, for the purpose of providing retirement allowances for employees of the St. Louis Public School System. See Sections 169.410-169.540 RSMo 1949, V.A.M.S. and the amendatory Acts dealing with the Retirement System and its operation in Districts having a population of 700,000 or over.

Respondents purport to represent themselves and all employees of the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis and all members of the Retirement System, including the employees of the Board of Education in the excluded classifications of employees under Sec. 169.410(4) RSMo 1949, as modified by the 1953 Act, V.A.M.S., who will not join in relators' petition. Respondents contend that the interests of the members of the Retirement System were unaffected by said 1953 Act and respondents demand for them the right to continue as members of the Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis, as the same existed prior to the passage, approval and effective date of the 1953 Act.

After the filing of relators' petition, respondents entered their appearance, waived the issuance of an alternative writ and, on the order of the court the petition filed being taken as the alternative writ, the respondents made their return thereto. Relators have moved for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the essential facts have been admitted by respondents' answer and no legal defense to relators' claim for relief appears.

The following uncontroverted facts appear: The Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis was established under Laws of Missouri 1943, p. 805 et seq. and became operative on January 1, 1944. It has remained continuously in operation since that date for the purpose of providing retirement allowances for employees of the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, as the term 'employee' was defined in Sec. 169.410(4) RSMo 1949 and in the 1951 amendment thereto, V.A.M.S., to wit, as follows: '(4) 'Employee' shall mean any person regularly employed by the board of education but shall not mean a temporary or part-time employee. * * *'

Thereafter, the 67th General Assembly adopted the 1953 Act in question, which if valid, became effective August 29, 1953 and by repeal and re-enactment amended Sec. 169.410, subsection 4, V.A.M.S., by redefining the term 'employee,' in part, as follows: '(4) 'Employee' shall mean any teacher regularly employed by the board of education, or any regular full time employee other than a teacher, of the school district who shall elect to be subject to this law except that the term employee shall not include persons in any of the following job classifications, services or positions * * * building trade mechanics * * *.' Numerous other specific job classifications, services or positions are also excluded from the defintion. It is admitted that the employees of the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis are employed and their job classifications are in relation to their duties and the type of work performed by said employees.

The 1953 Act, further, included Sec. 169.515, V.A.M.S., mentioned, supra, a new section. The said section is self-explanatory and its purpose clear. It is, in part, as follows: '169.515. 1. There is hereby created an 'Equity Fund for Members Other than School Teachers' which, for the purposes of this law, shall be referred to as the 'Equity Fund.' The board of trustees of the retirement system shall be the trustee of such fund which shall be held for the exclusive benefit of such members. To this fund shall be transferred, from the annuity savings fund and pension accumulation fund, described in section 169.490, the following amounts: (1) from the annuity savings the transfer shall consist of amounts equal to the accumulated contributions of the members other than teachers whose membership in the retirement system shall have terminated as of such effective date; and (2) from the pension accumulation fund the transfer shall consist of an amount equal to one and one-half per cent of each payment made on account of salary to such members other than teachers during the period from January 1, 1951 to the effective date of coverage under the provisions of 'An Act to provide for the coverage of certain officers and employees of the state and local governments under the old-age and survivors insurance provisions of Title 2 of the Federal Social Security Act, as amended, and providing an effective date of coverage, with an emergency clause', approved May 31, 1951, which act shall be designated for the purposes hereof as the 'Social Security Enabling Act', subject to a maximum salary payment during any calendar year of thirty-six hundred dollars. The right of any person having a credit in the Equity Fund shall be deemed to be fully vested in such person to the extent provided by this law.

'2. When the provisions of the Social Security Enabling Act have been extended to the employees of the board of education other than teachers, whose membership in the retirement system is terminated by this law, the board of trustees, as trustee of the Equity Fund, shall pay into the contribution fund created by such Social Security Enabling Act, as of the effective date of the agreement between the board of education and the state agency created by such act, the following amounts: (1) that proportion of the amount credited to the Equity Fund as the result of a transfer from the annuity savings fund which is equal to one and one-half per cent of each payment made on account of salary to the persons whose credits are represented in such Equity Fund and who are employees of the board of education on the effective date of such agreement, covering the period from January 1, 1951 to such effective date, subject to maximum earnings of thirty-six hundred dollars during any calendar year; and (2) the amount to the credit of such persons in the Equity Fund as the result of a transfer from the pension accumulation fund which shall be equal to one and one half per cent of each payment on account of salary to the persons represented by such transfer who are employees of the board of education on the effective date of such agreement, covering the period from January 1, 1951 to such effective date, subject to maximum earnings of thirty-six hundred dollars during any calendar year.

'3. The balance remaining in the Equity Fund after the aforesaid payments have been made, shall be distributed in the following manner: The amounts of the unpaid accumulated contributions shall be paid to the persons to whom they are credited; the remainder of the amount transferred from the pension accumulation fund shall be returned to such fund. Upon the completion of such payments and distributions, the Equity Fund shall cease to exist.'

Prior to August 29, 1953, relators were members of the Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis, but by the amendatory act the 67th General Assembly undertook to terminate relators' memberships therein and the memberships of certain other employees by paragraph 3 of Sec. 169.510 of the 1953 Act, as follows: '(3) From and after the effective date of this section any employee of a school district, excepting those within the meaning of the term 'employee' as herein defined, other than a teacher, who shall be a member of the retirement system, shall cease to be a member, notwithstanding that such employee may continue as an employee of the school district, and all further rights or benefits thereunder, except the right to the amount of his accumulated contributions, shall terminate.' (Italics ours.)

Respondents have failed and refused to create the...

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