Taylor, et al. v. City of Gadsden, et al., No. 13-13885 (11th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, a class of firefighters whose pension contribution rate was raised from 6% to 8.5%, filed suit alleging that the City's actions impaired the terms of their employment contracts in violation of the United States Constitution and the Alabama Constitution. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to demonstrate that any contractual right had been impaired. The court concluded that plaintiffs have no basis upon which to challenge a violation of the Contract Clause where, without passing any law, the City, at bottom, was doing nothing different from what a private party does. The City was free to amend the employee contribution rate without constitutional consequence. Even assuming the existence of a contractual provision not to raise the employee contribution rate, plaintiffs still cannot succeed on their Contract Clause challenge because, at most, the City has breached a contract, not impaired one. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.