DeKalb County School District et al v. Gold et al

Court: Georgia Supreme Court
Case Number:
Decision Date: October 21, 2019
Case Type: Retirement
The Supreme Court of Georgia held that the DeKalb County School District and the DeKalb County Board of Education breached a contract with the District's employees when they ceased employer contributions to the District's 403(b) retirement plan in 2009. The Board had adopted a policy in 1982 requiring it to give a two-year notice of any reduction to the funding provisions of its retirement plan. Although the retirement plan document itself contained a reservation of rights stating it could be amended or terminated at any time, the Court deemed the plan document inferior to the 1982 Board policy and opined that it did not act as an amendment to the 1982 Board policy. Further, the Court held that the two-year notice in the 1982 policy was part of an employment contract between the District and its employees. Of import to city retirement plans, the Court also held that monetary consideration (e.g., employee contributions) are not required for a retirement plan to be considered part of an employment contract. Rather, the employees' agreement to begin or continue to work and wait until retirement to collect the District's employer contributions to the retirement plan served as sufficient consideration. Of final note, in its amicus brief supporting the District, GMA argued the two-year notice provision was void because it violated the principle against binding succeeding council. In footnote 7 of its opinion, the Court stated it did not address this issue because it was not raised by the parties or ruled on by the trial court.