Today we received the first response from Milwaukee County to our Summons and Complaint. Counsel for Milwaukee County is Lindner & Marsack, SC and specifically attorneys Alan Levy and Ovyind Wistrom. They filed a Notice of Removal which removes the matter to Federal Court in Milwaukee. No other documents or pleadings were received other than the Notice of Removal. The Notice of Removal claims federal jurisdiction is more appropriate because our lawsuit is based, in part, upon federal law. We will continue to update this blog as case developments warrant.
We understand the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Association has sent a letter to retirees dated January 12, 2012 which indicates the Association may file a suit on behalf of retirees. If so, great–perhaps we can work together. However, a line in that letter indicates that it is uncertain whether Association retirees are covered under the lawsuit we are prosecuting.
The lawsuit we have filed intends to include all Milwaukee County retirees as part of the proposed class. As we all know, there is no certain result in any lawsuit but our intentions are to include all retirees in the class, regardless of their employing department.
We invite and welcome the participation and assistance off all retirees, their respective unions and retirement groups.
This afternoon Hon. John Seifert was assigned to hear the case. We will be filing a Request for Substiution tomorrow so as to obtain a different judge.
THIS WEBPAGE IS ONLY FOR MILWAUKEE COUNTY RETIREES.
This website is intended to keep Milwaukee County retirees up to date on the status of the class action lawsuit currently pending in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, entitled Hussey vs Milwaukee County, Case No. 2011CV00018855. The case was initially assigned to Hon. Dominic S. Amato who recused himself due to a conflict of interest. We await the appointment of a new presiding judge so we can request the issuance of a temporary injunction concerning the 2012 County Budget which requires significant co-pays, co-insurance premiums and deductibles of Milwaukee County retirees.
The summons and complaint, along with our Motion for Injunctive Relief were filed on December 27, 2011. We seek class action status for all Milwaukee County retirees. We allege the current and past Milwaukee County Boards and County Executives, through their budget enactments, have cut retiree vested healthcare benefits by imposing co-pays, premium co-pays and deductibles which unlawfully deprive retirees of their earned and vested benefits. It is astounding that the responsible elected officials have done this to retirees while at the same time, apparently, refusing to repeal the drop-back benefits which they feel they could not eliminate because they are vested benefits.
Wisconsin law requires that vested benefits cannot be taken away from retirees, Loth v. City of Milwaukee, 315 Wis.2d 35, 758 N.W.2d 766 (2008). We seek relief pursuant to 28 USC Sec. 1983 which provides, among other things, that governmental units cannot deprive people of their property without due process.
If you want to be involved in this lawsuit, please send your information to Michael Ganzer, via email, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address, last position with Milwaukee County and your current retirement benefit. The email will be kept in strictest confidence. We have received many calls from retirees and we have tried to respond to all. However, this blog is probably the best bet to keep you updated on the status of the lawsuit.