Amicus Brief

Gerald Sloan v City of Madison Heights

Case Year: 2006
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: healthcare, health insurance, collective bargaining agreements (CBA), Public Employment Relations Act (PERA)
Amicus Counsel:

Dennis B. DuBay (P12976) | Richard W. Fanning, Jr. (P55697) | Keller Thoma, P.C. | 440 East Congress, Fifth Floor | Detroit, Michigan 48226 | 313-965-7610


The League’s member communities have been greatly affected by the dramatic increases in the costs of health insurance, particularly retiree health care. It is has become increasingly difficult to plan for these costs, even when those individuals entitled to coverage are known. Now, under this Court’s March
22, 2006 Order, the City faces the risk of retirees remarrying and providing coverage to the new spouses. The City will suddenly be exposed to much greater liability if the new spouse is significantly younger and, therefore, can be expected to live and use health insurance much longer.The dollar impact cannot be underestimated. However, the truly difficult aspect is that the dollar impact cannot be fully known. A responsible municipality that has accurately prepared itself for its retiree health care costs can see those plans rendered useless if retirees are allowed to add new spouses and new dependants. Indeed, there is no way in which a responsible municipality can
anticipate such needs. Further, it is important to note that this increased and uncertain liability can only be funded by the citizens ofthis state through either increased taxes or decreased services. The League submits that the impact of the Court’s Order along merits reconsideration of the Court’s Order and affirmance of the Court of Appeals.


On order of the Court, the application for leave to appeal the October 27, 2005 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered and, pursuant to MCR 7.302(G)(1), in lieu of granting leave to appeal, we REVERSE the decision of the Court of Appeals and REINSTATE the orders of the Oakland Circuit Court granting summary disposition in favor of the plaintiff. The plain language of the collective bargaining agreement that provided health insurance to “retirees and their spouses” did not limit spousal coverage to the person who was the retiree’s spouse at the time of retirement or at the time of the agreement’s expiration.
On order of the Court, the motion for leave to appear as amicus curiae is GRANTED. The motion for reconsideration of this Court’s order of March 22, 2006 is considered, and it is DENIED, because it does not appear that the order was entered erroneously.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2005-08
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