The city of Slidell, which has been on the losing end of a legal battle with its retired building inspector over his health insurance benefits since last year, will not get a new hearing, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal decided this week.
The city passed an ordinance in 2008 requiring retirees to switch to Medicare upon turning 65 — an action it took a month after Dean Born retired after 24 years working for the city. Born successfully sued the city last year, when he turned 65, arguing that the city’s attempt to force him off its plan amounted to a breach of contract.
This isn’t the first time Slidell has lost at the 1st Circuit over the same issue. A former city councilman, Alvin Singletary, also sued the city when it tried to force him to change to Medicare. Singletary, unlike Born, lost his case in 22nd Judicial District Court. But Singletary appealed, and the 1st Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision, saying the city couldn’t apply the amended ordinance retroactively to Singletary because the rules in effect when he retired amounted to a contract. Judge Martin Coady, of the 22nd Judicial District, cited that decision in ruling in favor of Born.
Born sued the city in July 2013 after receiving a letter that said he would no longer be covered by the city’s plan. When he retired in 2008, employees who had been with the city for at least 10 years and participated in its health insurance plan were allowed to remain on the plan, with the city paying the full premium for Born and his family.
The city argued that Born should have sued within three years of its adoption of the ordinance requiring retirees to switch plans at age 65. But Coady said that the clock began ticking when the city tried to remove Born from the plan — in 2013 — and not when the revised ordinance was adopted in 2008.
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