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Brindisi v. Board of Trustees

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

April 24, 2015

FRANK A. BRINDISI
v.
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE LOUISIANA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS RETIREMENT SYSTEM

APPEALED FROM THE NINETEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE STATE OF LOUISIANA. DOCKET NUMBER C620864, SECTION 25. HONORABLE WILSON FIELDS, JUDGE.

Stephen C. Juan, Metairie, Louisiana, Attorney for Plaintiff/ Appellant, Frank A. Brindisi.

Kristi Garcia Spinosa, E. Pete Adams, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorneys for Defendant/Appellee, The Board of Trustees of the Louisiana District Attorneys, Retirement System.

BEFORE: McDONALD, CRAIN, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1011

[2014 1167 La.App. 1 Cir. 1] McDONALD, J.

This is an appeal from a judgment finding that plaintiff is not eligible to draw his Louisiana District Attorney Retirement System (LADARS) retirement benefit while he is an employee of the State of Louisiana participating in the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System (LASERS) Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 19, 2013, the plaintiff, Frank A. Brindisi, filed a petition for writ of mandamus and declaratory judgment, naming as defendant the Board of Trustees of LADARS. Mr. Brindisi asserted he had been an assistant district attorney and was a member of LADARS and paid into that retirement system for 15 years; and further, he had been employed by the State as an assistant attorney general and he had paid into LASERS for over 10 years. Mr. Brindisi maintained that by reciprocal agreement pursuant to La. R.S. 11:142, those terms of service cumulated to 25 years of service.

Page 1012

Mr. Brindisi asserted that he had reached the age of 55 and was eligible to retire as he had withdrawn from service with LADARS and had fulfilled all of the requirements for retirement under La. R.S. 11:1633. Mr. Brindisi maintained that he was participating in DROP through LASERS, thus he was not considered to be contributing to a retirement system and was entitled to receive payment of his earned and accrued retirement benefits from LADARS.

Mr. Brindisi asserted that the Board of Trustees of LADARS had refused to pay him retirement benefits, despite amicable demand. Mr. Brindisi prayed for judgment in his favor, and against LADARS, declaring him eligible to retire from LADARS as of his date of enrollment in DROP. Further, he prayed for a writ of mandamus ordering LADARS to pay him his retirement benefit.

The Board of Trustees of LADARS filed an answer denying that Mr. [2014 1167 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] Brindisi was eligible to retire and denying that Mr. Brindisi had fulfilled all of the requirements for retirement under La. R.S. 11:1633. The Board of Trustees filed an objection raising the exception of no cause of action,[1] asserting that Mr. Brindisi had signed an application for reciprocal recognition of service in which he stated that he had opted to defer his retirement, and further, the Board of Trustees maintained that persons who participate in DROP remain employed and are not retired, thus Mr. Brindisi had failed to state a cause of action for retirement benefits from LADARS. The Board of Trustees maintained that Louisiana law did not permit a state employee to retire from LADARS, but not from LASERS, and the Board of Trustees asked for judgment denying Mr. Brindisi's claims.

After a trial on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the Board of Trustees and against Mr. Brindisi, finding that Mr. Brindisi was not eligible to receive a LADARS retirement benefit as he did not have the requisite years of service to fulfill the mandatory legal requirements of both La. ...


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