Fuller v. Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit AuthorityAnnotate this Case
In this case, employees sued their employer alleging breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and bad faith and the application of the doctrine of estoppel arising out of the defendants' recoupment of early retirement benefits they claimed the employees were not entitled to under the employer's retirement Plan. The employer filed a counterclaim seeking immediate repayment from the employees of the benefits, interest, and attorney fees arising out of the payment of the early-retirement benefits based on their fiduciary duty to the Plan. The factual underpinnings of the adjudicated claims were the same as those of the unadjudicated counterclaim of the defendants. The trial court's resolution of the employees' claims did not moot the defendants' counterclaim because the trial court had to decide whether immediate recoupment (less any amount already received through the actuarially reduced monthly benefits), interest, and attorney fees were owed the defendants for the early-retirement benefits received by the employees. The Supreme Court remanded the case to trial court to reconsider the facts relating to the recoupment of the benefits in determining the defendants' counterclaim, including determining whether the defendants were entitled to immediate recoupment, interest, and attorney fees. The Supreme Court concluded the trial court's certification of finality under Rule 54(b) was ineffective, and, because there was no final judgment, both the appeal and cross-appeal were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.