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Metcalfe v. Alaska

Court: Alaska Supreme Court

Docket: S-17157

Opinion Date: April 2, 2021

Judge: Peter J. Maassen

Areas of Law: Class Action, Constitutional Law, Labor & Employment Law

Members of the plaintiff class were former Alaska State employees. When they enrolled in the State employee retirement system, a statute provided that if they left eligible employment, withdrew their contributions to the system, and later returned to eligible employment, they could repay their withdrawn contributions, be reinstated to their original benefits level, and have their credited service time restored. The statute was later repealed. The superior court ruled on summary judgment that this repeal did not diminish or impair the former employees’ accrued benefits and was therefore constitutional. The Alaska Supreme Court concluded the statutory reinstatement right was an accrued benefit of the retirement system protected against diminishment or impairment by article XII, section 7 of the Alaska Constitution. The Court, therefore, reversed the superior court’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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