Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by teachers against state for unde - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by teachers against state for underfunded pensions

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against the state on behalf of more than 146,000 public school teachers who claimed the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System was not adequately funded.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled last week that while he agrees the system is in “dire financial” trouble, the state is protected by sovereign immunity, which shields the state from liability except in some circumstances

The judge said the lawsuit, which named Gov. Matt Bevin, House Speaker Jeff Hoover and Senate President Robert Stivers as defendants, did not fall into any of the exceptions.

The lead plaintiff, Randy Wieck, a teacher at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, claimed the retirement system was underfunded by more than $24 billion and current and retired teachers have been “deprived of their property without the benefit of due process.”

The only relief available, Tatenhove wrote, was for the judge to order the defendants to remove money from the state treasury to fully fund the retirement system, a move that would violate the state’s constitutional rights.

The suit was originally filed in 2014. The state has acknowledged the retirement system is underfunded but have argued it is something the political branches must fix, not the judiciary.

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