Warner v. CalPERSAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff-appellant Christopher J. Warner served as a municipal and then superior court judge from July 1996 until his retirement in October 2010. In November 2010, he applied for a disability retirement benefit under the Judges' Retirement System II Law (JRS II). Defendant-respondent California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) granted his application, and he was awarded a monthly retirement allowance, paying him an amount equal to 65 percent of his retirement-level salary. In May 2011, Judge Warner applied to CalPERS to receive a distribution of his monetary credits in the JRS II system, which totaled $572,407. CalPERS staff denied the request. Judge Warner appealed that decision to the CalPERS Board of Administration. After a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a proposed decision recommending the staff decision be affirmed. The Board adopted the ALJ's recommendation. In January 2013, Judge Warner filed a petition for writ of mandate in San Bernardino County Superior Court challenging the Board's decision. The Judicial Council assigned the case to Los Angeles County Superior Court, which later an order denying the petition. This appeal presented a matter of first impression for the Court of Appeal: a question of statutory interpretation regarding the JRS II. Judge Warner contended that under JRS II, he was entitled to receive both a disability retirement allowance and payment of the monetary credits he accrued during his service. CalPERS ruled JRS II entitles Judge Warner only to the disability retirement allowance. The trial court denied Judge Warner's petition for writ of mandate, which sought to reverse the agency's ruling. Finding no reversible error in the Superior Court's judgment, the Court of Appeal affirmed.