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Claimants Awarded Retroactive Pay in Contract Arbitration with Hamden CT

Monday, May, 7, 2012

The city of Hamden Connecticut has been ordered in contract arbitration to pay retired recreation, parks and public works employees retroactive pension and benefits. This order was made after a long-fought breach of contract claim by these former employees. This ruling is a controversial one, and the town is considering what they can do about it within their appellate rights.

The Basis of the Plaintiffs' Arbitration Claims


Plaintiffs John Mendes Jr, Michael Luzzi, Thomas Brown, James Zarro, Robert Kazden, Michael Modena, John McCormack and Kenneth Copeland were all supervisors who had retired between 2005 and 2006. Upon their retirement, they were still under the provisions of a contract that had expired in 2003.


Once they retired, in July of 2006, the town and the supervisors' union agreed upon a new contract that was valid from July of 2003 to June of 2007. According to the language of this contract, the plaintiffs claimed that retroactive wages would be provided, and added that it was a long-standing practice for the town to recalculate pensions, benefits and wages for any time frame that retired workers were employed in between contracts. Additionally, they claimed to be informed by city officials that this practice would apply for them.


Since this did not occur, the plaintiffs claimed that not only should they receive retroactive pay, but also that the city be cited for negligent misrepresentation.

The Legal Arbitration Ruling


Kathleen Eldergill, who ruled in this contract arbitration, made somewhat of a split decision. First of all, she agreed, and ordered accordingly, that the city calculate and pay retroactive pay and benefits to the plaintiffs. On this point, the city of Hamden will try to appeal.


On the other hand, Ms. Eldergill dismissed the charge of negligent misrepresentation, stating that the town has “governmental immunity,” and so could not be sued for misleading statements made by its employees.