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City of Cranston v. International Brotherhood of Police Officers

Superior Court of Rhode Island

September 19, 2017

THE CITY OF CRANSTON, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE OFFICERS, LOCAL 301 and DANIEL W. NUEY, SR., Defendants.

         Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: Robert M. Duffy, Esq.; William K. Wray, Jr., Esq.

          For Defendant: Carly Beauvais Iafrate, Esq.; Elizabeth A. Wiens, Esq.

          DECISION

          LICHT, J.

         Three pending motions compel the Court to determine who will decide whether the City of Cranston (the City or Cranston) must arbitrate an employment dispute with defendants Daniel W. Nuey, Sr. (Nuey), and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 301 (the Union). Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 §§ 8-2-13 and 9-30-1.

         I

         Facts and Travel

         Nuey was once an active sergeant in the Cranston police force. On June 25, 2013, he left work early, and filed for injured-on-duty (IOD) benefits. These benefits, provided by statute and the collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Union and the City, "provide greater work-related-injury benefits to certain public employees whose jobs require them to serve the state or its municipalities, often in dangerous situations." Labbadia v. State, 513 A.2d 18, 21 (R.I. 1986).

         On July 19, 2016, Nuey completed and submitted an application to the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) seeking ordinary and accidental disability retirement under the Municipal Employees' Retirement System.[1] On March 15, 2017, ERSRI granted Nuey's ordinary disability retirement application, but denied his accidental disability retirement application. See Ex. 2 to Pl.'s Mot. Stay 4.

         On March 21, 2017, Nuey sent a letter to Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung and the City Council (the Letter). In relevant part, the Letter read:

"On March 15, 2017, I was awarded an 'Ordinary Disability' after being denied an 'Accidental Disability' by the RI State Retirement Board. As a result, I am requesting the City to award the difference in pension benefits equaling 66 2/3% as stated in the City of Cranston Municipal Code section 2.20.080, entitled 'Injured on Duty Pension Disability Entitlement.'
"Therefore, I respectfully request to be put on the City's pension roll effective end of day immediately upon the passage of this request, in accordance with the Police Department Pension Ordinance and contract language.
"With these terms in mind, please let this serve as notice of my retirement from the Cranston Police Department as of end of day immediately following the passage of this request and ask to be placed on the City Council Docket for the March 27th date of council meeting PRIOR to requested retirement meeting. Thank you." Ex. 3 to Pl.'s Mot. Stay.

         Cranston Municipal Code section 2.20.080, as referenced in the Letter, provides a disabled police officer awarded an ordinary disability pension but not an accidental disability pension a monetary benefit to ...


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