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PERS Litigation Disclaimer

This website was prepared to provide general information about the PERS cases Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan, LLP is handling on behalf of individual members of public sector labor unions participating in the PERS Coalition, a group organized to protect the pension interests of their members. This website does not, and is not intended to, provide legal advice. Neither transmission nor receipt of information contained in this website will create an attorney-client relationship, and Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan, LLP does not represent you based on your visit or review of this website.

Senate Bill 822 and Senate Bill 861 Legal Challenges

During the regular 2013 legislative session, Oregon lawmakers passed Senate Bill 822 which affected the amount of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) payable to PERS benefit recipients as of August 1, 2013, and in subsequent years. The bill also eliminated SB 656 and HB 3349 benefits referred to by PERS as “tax remedy” benefits for recipients who do not pay Oregon state income taxes because they do not reside in Oregon. In addition, during the 2013 special session, the legislature passed Senate Bill 861 which further increased the cuts to COLA payable to PERS benefit recipients after August 1, 2014.

Both bills contained a provision allowing persons who are adversely affected to request review by the Oregon Supreme Court within 60 days after the effective date of the Acts. On behalf of the PERS Coalition and its members, we have filed a challenge to those parts of the bills which we believe violate our clients’ rights.

Specifically, the challenge alleges that PERS members have a contract right and a property interest in their COLAs and benefits provided by chapter 796, Oregon Laws 1991 (SB 656). The changes made by Senate Bills 822 and 861 constitute an impairment of contract under the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions, a taking of property without proper compensation, and a breach of contract. A copy of the petitions and other relevant documents filed in the case can be accessed through the link below. As additional important documents are filed in the case, we will update this site.

Pleadings

Given the great number of PERS participants impacted by PERS litigation, we cannot respond to individual questions about PERS issues or about how current litigation may impact individual rights.

If you are or were a union member and you have questions or concerns regarding PERS litigation, we recommend you contact your union representative, even if your union is not a member of the PERS Coalition.

If you are retired, many unions have active retiree groups that may be able to provide information. Links to many unions and additional PERS information can be found on the web.

If you were not a union member during your employment, you may want to consider contacting Oregon PERS Retirees, Inc. (OPRI), a group of non-union retirees who have formed this organization to protect their rights. You can find information about OPRI at www.opri.org.

Finally and most importantly, if you have questions about your individual rights or need legal advice we strongly urge you to contact an attorney who can review your personal issues and circumstances and provide advice about your legal rights.

If you do not have an attorney you can call the Oregon State Bar’s referral service (503) 684-3763, which can suggest an attorney in your area.

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