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BOSCO v. CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY
October 18, 2001
RONALD T. BOSCO, INDIVIDUALLY, AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morton Denlow, United States Magistrate Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This case raises an important issue concerning pension rights of
current or former employees of the Chicago Transit Authority
("Plaintiffs" or "Employees"). They claim that the Chicago Transit
Authority ("Defendant" or "CTA") wrongfully denied their bridge of
service applications which would entitle them to greater pension benefits
This case comes before the Court by means of a trial on the papers in
which the parties have submitted trial briefs, affidavits, depositions,
and supporting exhibits which constitute the record in this case. See
Morton Denlow, Trial on the Papers: An Alternative to Cross Motions for
Summary, Judgment, Federal Lawyer, August 1999, at p. 30. See also, May
v. Evansville-Vanderburgh Sch. Corp., 787 F.2d 1105, 1115-16 (7th Cir.
1986); Allen v. United Mine Workers of America, 726 F.2d 352, 353 (7th
Cir. 1984); Acuff-Rose Music Inc. v. Jostens, Inc., 155 F.3d 140, 142
(2nd Cir. 1998); Nolan v. City of Chicago, 125 F. Supp.2d 324, 325 (N.D.
III. 2000). The parties have agreed to proceed in this manner and to
waive their right to present in court testimony. Oral argument was held
on September 25, 2001.
The issues presented arise out of Plaintiffs' Verified Class Action
Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights. Plaintiffs allege they have a
vested property interest in their retirement benefits from their first
and second tour of duty with the CTA. The CTA does not dispute that
Plaintiffs are entitled to retirement benefits stemming from the
Plaintiffs' second tour of duty; however, the CTA does dispute that
Plaintiffs are entitled to retirement benefits stemming from their first
tour of duty with the CTA.
The following constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions
of law pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. To
the extent certain findings may be deemed to be conclusions of law, they
shall also be considered conclusions. Similarly, to the extent matters
contained in the conclusions of law may be deemed to be findings of
fact, they shall be considered findings.
2. The CTA is a duly organized body politic and corporate and a
political subdivision of the State of Illinois created and existing under
the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, 70 ILCS 3605/1. et seq. (1992).
(Def. Resp. ¶ 2). The governing and administrative body of the CIA
is the seven-member Chicago Transit Board. 70 ILCS 3605/19. (Pl. Resp.
3. Plaintiffs are or were management employees of the CTA. Managerial
employees are eligible to participate in two retirement plans, the first
is called the Retirement Plan for Chicago Transit Authority Employees
("Retirement Plan") and the second is called the Supplemental Retirement
Plan ("Supp. Plan"). Furthermore, Plaintiffs are or will be eligible to
receive benefits under the Retirement Plan and the Supp. Plan. (Def.
Resp. ¶ 3).
4. Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, the CTA adopted its
Retirement Plan effective June 1, 1949. The Retirement Plan has been
amended from time to time. The Retirement Plan presented to this Court
reflects amendments through December 23, 1993. The Retirement Plan covers
all CTA employees, whether union members or not, who meet its
requirements. (Def. Ex. 3).
5. The Retirement Plan established a Retirement Allowance Committee
consisting of ten members. Five members are appointed by the CTA Board,
four are appointed by the unions, and one member is appointed to
represent the non-union employees. (Def. Ex. 3, ¶ 5.1). The
Retirement Plan grants the following powers to the Retirement Allowance
(1) to make and enforce such rules and regulations
consistent with the provisions of this agreement
as in its opinion may be necessary, or desirable,
for the carrying out of its duties, and for the
efficient administration of the Plan;
(2) to decide any question arising in the
administration, interpretation and application of
(3) to determine, according to the provisions herein
set forth, the eligibility of an employee for
old-age retirement and disability allowance under
this Plan and, if eligible, his rights hereunder;
(4) to certify to the Trustee the name of each
employee eligible for a refund or old-age
retirement or disability allowance and the amount
payable to him and to rescind such certification
in accordance with the provisions of this Plan;
(5) to approve or deny any application for an optional
form of payment or retirement allowances, and to
formulate rules with respect to the election of,
and payments under, any such optional form of
payment, which rules, however, shall not be
inconsistent with the provisions of this Plan.
6. The Allowance Committee has both the continuing statutory and
fiduciary obligations to administer the Retirement Plan pursuant to the
Metropolitan Transit Authority Pension Fund Act. (Def. Resp. ¶ 7).
7. The Allowance Committee is responsible for the determination and
issuance of retirement allowances, pursuant to the terms of the
Retirement Plan. (Def. Resp. ¶ 8).
8. The Retirement Plan provides for a method of amendment as follows:
This Agreement, as amended, has been in effect from
June 1, 1949 to date. This Agreement is part of the
Wage and Working Conditions Agreement between the
parties hereto. This Agreement can be changed only in
accordance with the provisions of the aforesaid Wage
and Working Conditions Agreement.
9. Benefits under the Retirement Plan are calculated based on the
employee's "continuous service" with the CTA only, with certain
exceptions not relevant to this issue. (Def. Ex. 3, ¶¶ 3.3, 3.5,
3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3).
10. In contrast to the Retirement Plan, the Supplemental Plan was
created by ordinance to provide certain additional benefits for executive
employees above a certain grade level. The Supplemental Plan was later
amended and restated pursuant to later ordinances. (Def. Ex. 1, Pl. Ex.
C). The most recent Restatement is dated January 24, 1991 and contains an
undated First Amendment. (Pl. Ex. C).
11. The First Amendment to the January 24, 1991 Restatement creates a
new paragraph 15 which provides for an Employee Retirement Review
Committee. (Pl. Ex. C, ¶ 5).
12. The Employee Retirement Review Committee of the CTA ("Retirement
Review Committee") is a committee of the CTA established to administer
the Supp. Plan and the payment of the Supp. Plan benefits. (Def. Resp.
13. The Retirement Review Committee has both the continuing statutory
and fiduciary obligations to administer the Supp. Plan pursuant to the
Metropolitan Transit Authority Pension Fund Act, 40 ILCS 5/22-101
(1992). (Def. Resp. ¶ 10).
14. The Retirement Review Committee is responsible for the
determination and issuance of retirement allowances pursuant to the
agreements that certain management employees, including Plaintiffs,
entered into pursuant to the terms of the Supp. Plan. (Def. Resp. ¶
15. The Supp. Plan "is subject to the Rules and Procedures adopted by
the Employee Retirement Review Committee from time to time heretofore and
hereafter interpreting and administering the Supplemental Retirement
Plan." (Pl. Ex. C, Supp. Plan 1st Am. ¶ 5).
16. Benefits under the Supp. Plan are generally based on continuous
service with the CTA. (Pl. Ex. C, Rest. ¶ 5,*fn3 Supp. Plan 1st
Am. ¶ 1; Def. Ex. 5, Rule No. 1,(b)). However, the Supp. Plan also
provides benefits for previous "governmental service," meaning, service
with the CTA and certain other governmental bodies giving reciprocal
pension credit, but only if: 1) there is no more than a 12-month break
between the employee's prior service with the governmental body and his
service with the CTA and 2) the management employee who wishes to bridge
prior governmental service under the Supp. Plan make a contribution to the
CTA for the period of prior governmental service. (Pl. Ex. C, Rest. pg.
3, 5, 6, Supp. Plan 1st Am. ¶ 1). Furthermore, "governmental
service" is to be "as interpreted by Rules adopted by the Employee
Retirement Review Committee." (Pl. Ex. C, Supp. Plan 1st Am. ¶ 1).
The employment must have been continuous service,
which means that it must have been continuous paid
full-time employment without interruption as said
terms historically have been interpreted pursuant to
the provisions of the Retirement Plan for Chicago
Transit Authority Employees. All separations from
employment which are not followed by reinstatement
within one year or breaks in service between eligible
governmental employers of more than one year shall
interrupt continuous service and shall result in the
loss of all prior employment credit. Service of less
than one year at eligible governmental employers shall
not be considered in the computation of continuous
service with an eligible governmental employer and
shall be viewed as a break in service.
(Def. Ex. 5, Rule No. 1,(b)). This Rule No. 1 was adopted on April 25,
1985 and was amended on August 14, 1985 and December 10, 1985.
D. Authorization of Amendments And Restatements of The Retirement
Plan And Supplemental Plan
18. CTA Ordinance No. 90-232 is titled: "AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE
AMENDMENT AND RESTATEMENT OF THE CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY SUPPLEMENTAL
RETIREMENT PLAN AND THE CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY RETIREMENT PLAN FOR
CHICAGO TRANSIT BOARD MEMBERS." (Def. Ex. 1).
19. The Chicago Transit Board of CTA ordained the Chairman of the
Chicago Transit Board with the authority "to execute and effectuate
amendments and restatements" of the Supp. Plan and Retirement Plan "to
effectuate the following principles" in part:
To provide for the Authority to maintain a standard
plan document setting forth the terms of each Plan and
for individuals to participate in each such standard
plan by the execution of a joinder agreement, in lieu
of the Authority executing and maintaining an
individual contract with ...