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Judge Deals Victory to Labor Unions in S.D. Pension Trial

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Aired 4/19/09

A Superior Court judge dealt a victory to labor unions in the City of San Diego's pension trial Thursday. The judge significantly reduced the stakes of the case brought by City Attorney Mike Aguirre. Aguirre sued to roll back millions in pension benefits, which he says were granted illegally. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps explains.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Barton says Aguirre’s arguments were "creative." But Aguirre could not convince the judge that as much as $900 million in pension benefits should be rolled back. Now, only $30 to $50 million are at stake. The judge asked both sides whether the benefits in question are protected by past legal settlements. Aguirre argued no. The labor unions argued yes, those benefits are untouchable.

The judge sided with the labor unions. What remains at stake are the benefits of some city workers that are not protected by those legal settlements. Aguirre says he’ll appeal Judge Barton’s decision. But as it stands now, most of Aguirre's legal arguments in favor of moving the trial forward are dead. For KPBS, I’m Andrew Phelps.

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