Barufaldi v. City of DoverAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff Daniel Barufaldi, appealed a superior court dismissal of his complaint against defendant the City of Dover. Plaintiff was first hired as the Director of Economic Development for the Dover Business and Industry Development Authority (DBIDA) for a fixed term from March 2009 through February 2012. As a condition of his employment with DBIDA, plaintiff was required to waive participation in the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS). After his initial term of employment expired in 2012, plaintiff was reappointed for one-year extensions until 2017. In 2017, the City created a new Director of Economic Development position and appointed plaintiff to the position. Prior to executing a new employment agreement, plaintiff asked the Dover City Manager if he would now be eligible to participate in the NHRS. The Dover City Manager informed plaintiff that he was not eligible for enrollment in the NHRS because his employment contract was for “a fixed time period.” Around March 2020, plaintiff contacted the NHRS to inquire about his eligibility for enrollment. In July 2020, the NHRS notified the City that it was obligated to enroll plaintiff in the NHRS. The City subsequently enrolled plaintiff in the NHRS prospectively. Thereafter, the plaintiff submitted a “request for cost calculation to purchase service credit” because of “employer enrollment oversight.” The NHRS administratively reviewed the request and determined, pursuant to RSA 100-A:3, VI(d)(1), plaintiff was partially at fault for the failure to be enrolled in the NHRS following his appointment in 2017 as Director and, therefore, ineligible to purchase service credit. It also determined that DBIDA was not an NHRS participating employer and that plaintiff’s employment contract with DBIDA waived any right to participate in the NHRS. In a letter dated August 4, 2020, the NHRS notified plaintiff of its determination and informed him that he had 45 days in which to appeal the administrative decision by requesting a hearing before the agency. Plaintiff did not request such a hearing but, instead, filed a complaint in superior court. Plaintiff contended to the New Hampshire Supreme Court appealing dismissal of his case that the trial court erred in concluding that: (1) declaratory judgment was not an available theory of relief; and (2) plaintiff was required to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.