Portland Retirees Sue to Block Withholding


Five retired Portland, Oregon police officers and firefighters have filed a class action lawsuit against the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Board seeking to block a plan to recoup roughly $3 million in claimed overpayments to retirees going back 13 years.


The suit was filed August 25, 2011 in state court on behalf of roughly 850 retirees affected by the action. The retirement board discovered they had been overpaying retirees by an average of 2.38%, and is seeking to recover the overpayments by deducting the amounts from retirees present checks.


The legal theory behind the challenge appears to be straightforward: breach of contract. However the case will likely prove to be anything but straightforward. According to retirement board trustee Justin Delaney, “we have to stay in compliance with IRS rules or else we’ll imperil the whole system. If somebody is overpaid, you’ve got to pay it back.”  Board member Jeffrey Robertson similarly indicated that the IRS advised the board that they had to address the matter.


Portland Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 43, Portland Police Association’s and Portland Police Commanding Officers Association are reported to be considering a separate class-action lawsuit to challenging the withholding.


More in the story.


About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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