May 24, 2019
On May 23rd the Finney Law Firm filed a proposed class action lawsuit in Federal Court in Cincinnati on behalf of nearly 150,000 retired Ohio teachers.
The basis for the lawsuit is the 2017 decision of the Ohio State Teachers Retirement Board to eliminate the 2% cost-of-living increases that the retirees had been receiving under Ohio law. The lawsuit alleges that the Board eliminated these much needed cost-of-living adjustments – adjustments that the retirees had been promised, and were counting on – without proper legal authority, and without justification.
The caption of the suit, which has been assigned to Judge Susan Dlott, is “Dean Dennis and Robert Buerkle v. Ohio State Teachers Retirement Board.” We are asking the Court to certify the case as a class action on behalf of all Ohio teacher retirees.
Our clients worked for decades, for very modest compensation, doing one of the most important jobs in the world – educating Ohio’s children. Over the course of those decade of work, our clients had been repeatedly promised that, in their retirement years, they would receive annual cost of living adjustments that would at least allow them to keep pace with inflation.
We believe the State Teachers Retirement Board broke faith with Ohio’s retired teachers in 2017, when it abruptly and indefinitely eliminated their cost-of-living increases without due consideration, and without a valid legal basis for its action.
The perceived financial issues that the Board cited as the justification for eliminating these important benefits could have been more than adequately addressed in a variety of ways that would not have dealt such a devastating blow to our retired teachers. Instead, the Board chose to put 100% of the burden on the people who were most vulnerable, and who could least afford it. We do not believe this was necessary, just, or legal.
We hope this lawsuit will shine a light on the Board’s actions, and that it will lead to the restoration of the benefits Ohio’s retried teachers worked so hard to earn.
Our firm’s employment law department, Steve Imm and Matt Okiishi, are counsel on the case along with the firms of Goldenberg Schneider LPA, (with whom we successfully have prosecuted other class action cases) and Minnillo & Jenkins, Co., LPA.
For more information, contact Stephen E. Imm at 513-943-5678.
You may read the Complaint online here or below.
We will regularly update progress on this important case on this blog.