We recognize the at the end of a long and committed teaching and/or public service career, having an issue with the State Teachers Retirement System or California Public Employee Retirement System can be a disturbing and unanticipated experience. We have experience representing teachers in appeals of retirement matters with the State Teachers Retirement System, and are happy to assist in those matters. We also have successfully represented employees in issues involving the California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Whether your issue involves allegations of pension spiking, a miscalculation of your defined benefit formula for your service retirement, or application of the new California Public Employees Pension Reform Act ("PEPRA"), we can advise and assist you.
We also have helped obtained disability benefits for teachers who have applied for disability with the State Teachers Retirement System and who have received an initial denial of their application. We know that having to apply for disability benefits or for a disability retirement is not something that any working educator or employee anticipates. The public disability appeal process can be a lengthy and complicated process. We are familiar with that process.
If you appeal a negative determination by STRS or CalPERS, and the Executive Review process is unfavorable, you will have a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge using the rules set out in the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). We know that act very well, and Ms. Curtis has taught, as part of a panel, other attorneys through Pincus Professionals on how to litigate hearings under the APA.
Once your hearing is complete, the Administrative Law Judge issues a proposed decision that is accepted or rejected by the STRS or CalPERS Board. The Board can then designate the final decision as Precedential if it chooses to. STRS only has a few Precedential decisions at this time on the STRS website; and one of those decisions was litigated by Ms. Curtis. Click here to go to the STRS website page listing STRS' Precedential decisions: https://www.calstrs.com/general-information/index-calstrs-precedential-decisions
Ms. Curtis recently (in 2020) obtained a Judgment granting a Petition for a Writ of Mandate, in part, against CalPERS, in a review of an underlying administrative decision. In that case the Superior Court held that CalPERS abused its discretion when it used an unwritten rule to reduce the payrate of a former Superintendent to that of an Assistant Superintendent for purposes of retirement.