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Puckett v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Gov't

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division

October 8, 2014

TOMMY PUCKETT and ROGER M. VANCE, JR., Plaintiffs,
v.
LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT, et al., Defendants

Page 773

For Tommy Puckett, Roger M. Vance, Jr., Plaintiffs: James Michael Inman, Ronald L. Green, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Green, Chesnut & Hughes PLLC, Lexington, KY; John Samuel Roberts, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lexington, KY.

For Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, Mayor Jim Gray, Board of Trustees Policemen's and Firefighters' Retirement Fund, Defendants: Keith Moorman, Frost Brown Todd LLC - Lexington, Lexington, KY.

For Commonwealth of Kentucky, Defendant: Benjamin Adam Long, Attorney General's Office - Kentucky, Frankfort, KY.

For Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, in her official capacity, Councilman Chuck Ellinger, in his official capacity, Councilman Steve Kay, in his official capacity, Councilman Chris Ford, in his official capacity, Councilwoman Shevawn Akers, in her official capacity, Councilwoman Diane Lawless, in her official capacity, Councilman Julian Beard, in his official capacity, Councilman Bill Farmer, Jr., in his official capacity, Councilman Kevin Stinnett, in his official capacity, Councilwoman Jennifer Scutchfield, in her official capacity, Councilman George Myers, in his official capacity, Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti, in her official capacity, Councilman Harry Clarke, in his official capacity, Councilwoman Peggy Henson, in her official capacity, Councilman Ed Lane, in his official capacity, Ronnie Bastin, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Keith Jackson, Boardmember, in his official capacity, William O'Mara, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Clay Mason, Boardmember, in his official capacity, John Maxwell, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Bat. Chief Chris Sweat, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Det. Larry Kinnard, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Capt. Andrew Short, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Sgt. Jonathan Bastian, Boardmember, in his official capacity, Official Defendants: Keith Moorman, Frost Brown Todd LLC - Lexington, Lexington, KY.

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OPINION AND ORDER

KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the Court on two motions to dismiss. The first motion is brought by defendant Commonwealth of Kentucky. (DE 8). The second motion is brought by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, Vice Mayor Linda Gorton, Councilman Chuck Ellinger, Councilman Steve Kay, Councilman Chris Ford, Councilwoman Shevawn Akers, Councilwoman Diane Lawless, Councilman Julian Beard, Councilman Bill Farmer, Jr., Councilman Kevin Stinnett, Councilwoman Jennifer Scutchfield, Councilman George Myers, Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti, Councilman Harry Clarke, Councilwoman Peggy Henson, Councilman Ed Lane, Mayor Jim Gray, the Board of Trustees Policemen's and Firefighters' Retirement Fund, Boardmember Ronnie Bastin, Boardmember Keith Jackson, Boardmember William O'Mara, Boardmember Clay Mason, Boardmember John Maxwell, Boardmember Bat. Chief Chris Sweat, Boardmember Det. Larry Kinnard, Boardmember Capt. Andrew Short, and Boardmember Sgt. Jonathan Bastian (collectively " the LFUCG defendants" ). (DE 14). Plaintiffs Tommy Puckett and Roger M. Vance, Jr., sue each of the individual defendants in their official capacities only. (DE 14). For the following reasons, the Court will grant defendants' motions.

I. FACTS

Both plaintiffs are retired employees of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (" LFUCG" ). (DE 1, Complaint ¶ ¶ 11-12). One is a retired police officer, the other is a retired firefighter. Both are members of the LFUCG's Policemen's and Firefighters' Retirement Fund (" the Fund" ), which is governed by the Police and Firefighters' Retirement and Benefit Fund Act set out in KRS 67A.360 through KRS 67A.690 (" the Act" ). (DE 1, Complaint ¶ ¶ 2, 18, 28). KRS 67A.690 provides cost of living adjustments (" COLA" ) for the Fund annuities. The plaintiffs assert that recent amendments to KRS 67A.690 have substantially reduced the rate at which COLA are made to members of the Fund. (DE 1, Complaint ¶ ¶ 40, 42). When the plaintiffs retired in 2009 and 2010, KRS 67A.690(1) for COLA of 2% to 5% per year, compounded annually, with the exact amount to be determined by the Fund's pension board. KRS 67A.690(1) (2002). On March 14, 2013, an amended version of KRS 67A.690 went into effect. Under the amended version of the statute, in years where the Fund's actuarial level is less than 85%, the statute as amended provides for tiered COLA of 1%, 1.5%, or 2%, depending on the value of the member's annuity. KRS 67A.690(1)(b) (2013). The amended statute applies to Fund members who retired prior to the effective date of the statute, including plaintiffs. The plaintiffs argue that the amended version of KRS 67A.690 violates the Contract Clause, the Due Process Clause and the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution and the analogous provisions of the Kentucky Constitution. The plaintiffs also assert that the amended statute violates § 55 of the Kentucky Constitution.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the " factual allegations in the complaint must be regarded as true." Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988) (quoting Windsor v. The Tennessean, 719 F.2d 155, 158 (6th Cir. 1983)). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair

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notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 ...


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