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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

6/26/2014 BERG, ET AL. VS. HON. CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE,ET AL./MICHAEL DELUCIA, ET AL. VS. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS A-5973-11T4/A-6002-11T4/ A-0632-12T1(CONSOLIDATED)


6/26/2014
BERG, ET AL. VS. HON. CHRISTOPHER J.
CHRISTIE,ET AL./MICHAEL DELUCIA, ET AL. VS. STATE
OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,
DIVISION OF PENSIONS AND BENEFITS
A-5973-11T4/A-6002-11T4/ A-0632-12T1(CONSOLIDATED)
Our opinion decides two appeals, Berg and DeLucia. In Berg, construing 1997 pension legislation, we conclude that the Legislature intended to create a contractual right to receive pension benefits, including cost of living adjustments. We find that plaintiffs' claims for payment of benefits from the pension funds is not barred by the Debt Limitation and Appropriations Clauses of the StateConstitution. We reverse the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the State, and remand to allow the parties to create an evidentiary record on whether the State can satisfy the constitutional standard it must meet to justify impairing the obligation of a contract. In DeLucia, plaintiffs raised separate arguments that we find without merit, and we affirm the trial court's decision granting summary judgment.