Sign In

147758 - MI Coalition of State Employee Unions v Michigan

Michigan Coalition of State Employee Unions, et al,
Patrick M. Fitzgerald
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Ingham – Draganchuk, J.)
State of Michigan, State Employees’ Retirement System, et al,
William A. Wertheimer


2011 PA 264 amended the State Employees’ Retirement Act (SERA). Plaintiffs challenged changes that required employees hired before April 1, 1997, who had maintained membership in the state pension system (the “defined benefit pension plan”) to choose either to contribute 4 percent of their income to that plan or to switch to the 401(k) plan (the “defined contribution plan,” applicable for state employees hired on or after April 1, 1997) without a required contribution. They also challenged the change in the way overtime is applied to the calculation of “final average compensation.” The trial court ruled that PA 264 was unconstitutional because it violates Const 1963, art 11, § 5.
Defendants appealed. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s determination that the challenged portions of PA 264 are unconstitutional because they are incompatible with Const 1963, art 11, § 5. However, the Court reversed the trial court’s determination that PA 264 is void in its entirety and remanded the case to the trial court for a determination regarding the severability of the remaining portions of PA 264. On remand, the trial court was to determine whether any additional portions of the act must be deleted in light of the Court of Appeals opinion, and if so, whether PA 264 could be permitted to stand as redacted.
Defendants appealed. In an order dated January 29, 2014, the Supreme Court granted leave and ordered the parties to include among the issues to be briefed whether 2011 PA 264 is unconstitutional, in whole or in part, in violation of Const 1963, art 11, § 5.