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Seff v. The Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

June 20, 2019

FLORA E. SEFF, Plaintiff,
v.
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Defendant.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon the Defendant Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County's (the “County” or “Defendant”) Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 19. The Court has reviewed the Motion, all supporting and opposing filings and submissions, the record in the case, and is otherwise fully advised on the premises. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion for summary judgment is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves Defendant's alleged violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a) (prohibiting age discrimination by an “employer”), the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by implementing practices, policies, and procedures that subjected Plaintiff, Flora Seff (“Plaintiff ” or “Seff ”), to discrimination based on her age. 1. Seff's Previous Employment Ms. Seff, has served the state of Florida in a public capacity for at least thirty years.[1]Compl. ¶¶ 8, 9. Prior to her employment with the County, Seff held public employment in Florida as an Assistant State Attorney from 1980 through 2008. Seff Decl. ¶

         1. Seff was also employed

         as a County Court judge from July 2008 through January 2009. Id. As a result of her public employment, Seff was a member of the Florida Retirement System (“FRS”) Pension Plan. (Id. at ¶ 2.) and elected to participate in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (“DROP”), an early retirement incentive program that required Seff to resign her employment with the state of Florida on May 31, 2015, the same date as her DROP termination date. Id. at ¶5. Once retired, Seff would be eligible to receive a monthly pension for her lifetime. Id.

         On February 25, 2011, Seff was hired as the Senior Legal Liaison in the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (“MDFR”), she was paid $127, 363.07, the maximum compensation permitted for her classification. Def.'s Stmnt. Facts ¶ 6.

         On May 31, 2015, Seff terminated her employment with the County in accordance with her DROP election. Id. at ¶ 11. Seff subsequently began receiving monthly FRS retirement benefit pension checks. Id. Seff has consistently received FRS pension checks since her retirement in 2015. Id. at ¶ 12.

         2. The County's Retiree Rehiring Policy

         In April 2010, the Miami-Dade County adopted County Resolution Number 392-10 and Implementing Order 7-44, which sets forth retirement benefits for state and local county government employees. Id. at ¶ 8. The retiree rehiring policy expressly states that it was promulgated to address “double dipping, ” whereby an employee collects “FRS” pension benefits and simultaneously collects a salary from an FRS contributing public employer. Id.

         The WHEREAS CLAUSES in County Resolution Number 392-10 state in pertinent part:

WHEREAS, such re-employment with an FRS employer is sometimes referred to as “double dipping” because the employee collects pension benefits from FRS, and also collects a salary from the FRS employer; and
WHEREAS, during the 2009 regular session, the Florida Legislature sought to address FRS “double dipping” by passing HB 479, Chapter 2009-209, Laws of Florida (“HB 479”), which provided that employees who retire with FRS benefits on or after July 1, 2010, are not eligible for re-employment with an FRS employer for six months after retirement, and such retirees will not receive retirement benefits for the seventh through 12 months after retirement; and
WHEREAS, some states have made it illegal to collect retirement benefits and return to work at the same job and salary; and
WHEREAS, other states have made it illegal to take any public sector job in the same retirement system without ...

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