City of Pontiac Retired Emps. Ass'n v. Schimmel, No. 12-2087 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Pontiac has experienced significant economic difficulties. In 2011 Michigan’s Governor appointed Schimmel as Pontiac’s emergency manager under then-existing law (Public Act 4), in 2011, Schimmel modified the collective bargaining agreements of retired city employees and severance benefits, including pension benefits, for retirees not covered by collective bargaining agreements. Retired employees sued under the Contracts Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the Bankruptcy Clause. The district court denied an injunction. In 2013, the Sixth Circuit vacated and remanded for expedited consideration of state law issues. Michigan voters later rejected Public Act 4 by referendum. Following rehearing, en banc, the Sixth Circuit again vacated and remanded for consideration of whether, under section 903(1) of the Bankruptcy Code, Public Act 4 prescribed a method of composition of indebtedness that binds the retirees without their consent and, if so, whether principles of state sovereignty preclude application of section 903(1) in this case; whether the emergency manager’s orders were legislative acts under the Contract Clause; whether the reductions and eliminations of health care benefits were “necessary and reasonable” under the Contract Clause; whether the retirees’ procedural due process claim is viable; and, assuming the Due Process Clause’s procedural protections apply, whether the collective bargaining agreements, considered in their entireties, establish protected property rights.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 9, 2013.