All city workers called to military duty after 9/11 will be represented in a lawsuit to recover unpaid pension funds.
In early August, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of three retired NYPD officers seeking to recoup pension funds they would’ve earned had they not been called to active duty.
Bharara announced the expansion of the lawsuit yesterday. The original lawsuit argues that the New York City Police Pension Fund failed to calculate the amount of money officers would’ve have made in overtime and other bonus earnings if the military hadn’t mandated their service.
“As we said when we filed our class action lawsuit on behalf of retired NYPD officers who were called to active duty after 9/11, we are committed to ensuring that all retired City employees who selflessly and bravely served our country since 9/11 receive the benefits to which they are legally entitled,” Bharara said in a release.
“Since the lawsuit was filed we have received dozens of inquiries from veterans who worked in other City agencies, prompting the expansion of our investigation,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed the original lawsuit on Aug. 2 on behalf of former NYPD officers David Goodman, Michael Doherty and Robert Black. The suit looks closely at the rate of overtime and night-shift compensation the officers received 12 or so months prior to their call to duty, according to court documents obtained by the Voice.
The officers say their current pension payments only incorporate base-salary earnings for that time, which the lawsuit argues is a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
Goodman, who retired from the NYPD in 2009, was called to duty by the U.S. Army Reserves four times following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — where he served in both
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Doherty was called to U.S. Coast Guard Reserves multiple times, including one three year stint in Afghanistan from 2004-2007. Black, who joined NYPD in 1984, also served active duty relating to the war in Afghanistan for the U.S. Coast Guard, documents say.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to ensure that soldiers remain on the same footing as their civilian counterparts and receive all the benefits to which they are entitled, and, that they are not penalized for their service by the unlawful calculation of those benefits,” Bharara said. “Each and every City employee who was called to active military service is entitled to have his or her pension calculated consistent with USERRA.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 23, 2012