Southeast Michigan (MPSERS) Attorney
Class Action Against the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Board
The Bloomfield Hills law firm Hertz Schram, P.C. has recently brought a CLASS ACTION against the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Board (Retirement Board). You or someone you know may be a member of the proposed CLASS. Please read the Information below so you may take appropriate steps to protect your interests and those of any intended spouse beneficiary.
Facts of the Case
Angeline Fitzpatrick (Mrs. Fitzpatrick) was a Michigan public school employee and a member of MPSERS. She had over 16 years of service when she terminated employment with MPSERS. Therefore, she was eligible for her retirement allowance at age 60. Approximately 8 months before her 60th birthday, Mrs. Fitzpatrick completed a pension election form and beneficiary nomination form she received from the Office of Retirement Services (ORS). On the forms, Mrs. Fitzpatrick elected to receive her retirement allowance in the form of a 100% survivor annuity, naming her husband as the beneficiary of the 100% survivor annuity.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Fitzpatrick passed away shortly before her 60th birthday, having not collected even a dime of her retirement allowance. Mr. Fitzpatrick subsequently requested payment of the survivor benefits. However, the ORS denied his request on the ground that Mrs. Fitzpatrick had not made the beneficiary nomination while she was an active public school employee of MPSERS. Thereafter, the Retirement Board also denied Mr. Fitzpatrick's claim for the 100% survivor annuity benefits, which is now in litigation via the CLASS ACTION.
In the CLASS ACTION, Mr. Fitzpatrick has persuasively argued that he is entitled to the 100% survivor annuity benefits regardless of whether Mrs. Fitzpatrick completed a beneficiary nomination form while she was an active employee of MPSERS, or whether she ever completed a beneficiary nomination form. The Court has not yet ruled on the merits of Mr. Fitzpatrick's claim.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Interests and Those of Any Intended Spouse Beneficiary
If the Court rules in Mr. Fitzpatrick's favor, the ruling may only benefit Mr. Fitzpatrick unless he can identify other persons who are, or may in the future be, similarly situated. In order to protect your interests and those of any intended spouse beneficiary, you should contact counsel for the proposed CLASS if any of the following four criteria apply:
1. - You previously contacted the Office of Retirement Services about survivor pension benefits because you believed you were or might be entitled to survivor pension benefits, but you were told you were not entitled to survivor pension benefits.
2. - (A) You are the surviving spouse of a person who was a Michigan public school employee and member of MPSERS;
(B) Your deceased spouse had at least 15 years of service (or was at least age 60 with at least 10 years of service);
(C) At the time of death, your deceased spouse had not received any of his/her pension; and
(D) You never received any survivor pension benefits
3. - (A) You were a member of MPSERS, and you separated from service as a Michigan public school employee with at least 15 years of service (or you are at least age 60 and have at least 10 years of service);
(B) You have not yet applied for your pension or retirement allowance;
(C) You are married; and
(D) When you apply for your pension or retirement allowance, you intend to elect the 100% survivor pension option and name your spouse as the beneficiary of the 100% survivor pension;
4. - You know someone who meets or may meet the criteria in (1), (2), or (3) above, and can provide their name and telephone number to counsel for the proposed Class.
If you are in doubt as to whether you or someone else you know satisfies) any of the foregoing criteria, it is suggested that you call counsel for the proposed Class for clarification.
Contact Information for Counsel for the Proposed Class
Eva Cantarella, Partner and Senior Litigation Counsel, Pensions and Employee Benefits
Hertz Schram, P.C.
1760 S. Telegraph Road, Suite 300
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302-0183
off. (248) 494-4486
Ms. Cantarella is a nationally recognized expert on pensions.