A lawsuit brought against Contra Costa County in 2012 has been revived after a previous dismissal has been overturned after an amended filing was heard in U.S. District Court. Judge Jon Tigar has decided that City MOUs and resolutions may be used to outline terms of a contractual intent to provide benefits in perpetuity.

The ruling has paved the way for a group representing retirees to challenge a 2010 reform to retiree healthcare. Previously, the County had provided 80 percent of premiums for retirees and their dependents. But the County changed that policy three years ago, instead opting to provide a flat cap to cover some of healthcare expenses. The rest would be the responsibility of retirees to cover.

The amended filing relied upon memorandums of understanding, as well as resolutions approved by the Board of Supervisors, to provide the terms of an implied contract between the County and its workers. Those terms would be vested rights under case law, which could undermine the 2010 reform and restore 80 percent coverage for health premiums.

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