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January 31, 2012

The provisions in a “memorandum of understanding” that are limited to applying to “employees” do not apply to a “retired employee”

The provisions in a “memorandum of understanding” that are limited to applying to “employees” do not apply to a “retired employee”
Derosa v Dyster, 2011 NY Slip Op 09363, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Patricia Derosa, a retired employee the City of Niagara Falls, sued the City in an effort to compel it to provide her with “either post-employment health insurance coverage or opt-out payments in lieu of such coverage, contending that she was entitled to such benefits pursuant to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] between the City and the Union.

The Appellate Division ruled that Derosa, as a retired employee, was not eligible to elect the “opting out” provision, explaining that the MOU gave qualified employees a choice of either participating in the health care plan or opting out of that plan. However, said the court, although the MOU permitted retirees to participate in the health care plan upon retirement under the same terms and conditions as employees, it did not contain a similar "opt-out provision" for retirees.

Pointing out that the opt-out paragraph set out in the MOU specifically stated that qualified employees could elect to opt-out of the health care plan, the Appellate Division held that Derosa, as a retiree, and thus no longer an employee, was entitled to enroll in the health care plan at no cost to her but could not elect to "opt-out."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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