Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket No.
C632154 Honorable R. Michael Caldwell, Judge Presiding
Gilbert R. Buras, Jr. New Orleans, Louisiana Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellant Alvin Langsford
D. H. Olinde, Jr. Scott E. Mercer Douglas S. Smith, Jr.
Steven S. Stockstill Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for
Defendant/Appellee Firefighters' Retirement System
BEFORE: McCLENDON, WELCH, AND THERIOT, JJ.
retiree seeks review of a trial court judgment that granted
the Firefighters' Retirement System's motion for
summary judgment and dismissed the retiree's suit that
sought to remove a beneficiary from his retirement plan. For
the following reasons, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Langsford was employed as a firefighter by the City of Kenner
Fire Department from December 3, 1984 until April 9, 2009. On
March 6, 2012, the Firefighters' Retirement System
fFRS") sent Mr. Langsford correspondence that the FRS
would commence payment of his retirement benefit when Mr.
Langsford turned fifty on April 23, 2012. The FRS enclosed a
"Retirement/DROP/IBO Application" that required Mr.
Langsford to select a retirement benefit option. The
correspondence instructed Mr. Langsford to review and
complete the application and return it to the FRS.
Langsford completed and submitted his application on March
16, 2012, electing "Option 3" and designating
Luciene Pessoa DaSilviera as the beneficiary of 50% of his
retirement benefit after his death. At the time of the
election, Mr. Langsford and Ms. DaSilviera were engaged to be
married. Next to his election, Mr. Langsford made the
following acknowledgement below which he signed his name:
"I hereby acknowledge that my option selection on this
application is irrevocable and I cannot change my decision
later." Below the referenced acknowledgement, Mr.
Langsford executed an affidavit where he recognized that he
was not married at the time of the election and that his
retirement benefit would be reduced.
Langsford received his first benefit payment in May 2012.
Subsequently, according to Mr. Langsford, he and Ms.
DaSilviera amicably broke off their engagement. Mr. Langsford
then contacted the FRS to request that Ms. DaSilviera be
deleted as the Option 3 beneficiary. On September 20, 2012,
the FRS denied Mr. Langsford's request, noting that the
Application clearly stated that "The beneficiary MAY NOT
be changed after retirement/DROP effective date."
July 2014, Mr. Langsford filed a Petition, naming the FRS as
defendant, and seeking, among other things, a declaratory
judgment and mandatory injunction ordering the FRS to pay
benefits at the actuarially appropriate rate under the
election as sole beneficiary under the plan.
the FRS moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Mr.
Langsford's selection of Option 3 was irrevocable given
that the time period for modification under the relevant
statute had passed. In opposition to FRS's motion for
summary judgment, Mr. Langsford asserted that there was
neither a constitutional nor statutory prohibition to the FRS
effecting his request to delete the beneficiary.
a hearing, the trial court granted the FRS's motion for
summary judgment. On October 12, 2016, the trial court signed
a judgment dismissing Mr. Langsford's claims against the
FRS. Mr. Langsford has appealed, asserting that the trial
court erred ...