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SD Employee Pension Lawsuit Will Be Tried In LA

A lawsuit between the city of San Diego and its employee pension system will be tried in Los Angeles County, a San Diego judge ruled Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis noted that the law provides for a change of venue when two government entities are adversaries in a case, and one of the parties to the lawsuit asks for a move.

Lewis rejected arguments by the City Attorney's Office that the San Diego City Employees Retirement System waited too long to bring its change-of-venue motion, and that SDCERS, by prior action, had waived its right to make such a motion.

The judge also turned down a request by the city to have a judge brought to San Diego from another jurisdiction.

The lawsuit filed by the city seeks to enforce a provision in the City Charter for the employees and city to make "substantially equal" contributions to the pension system. The city and SDCERS, backed by municipal employee unions, disagree on the meaning of "substantially equal."

According to the City Attorney's Office, SDCERS has overcharged the city for its pension contributions by tens of millions of dollars annually for years.

The ruling means trial set for April 29 will be postponed.

"We will be asking the Court of Appeal to intervene and overturn this ruling," said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. "Our city is entitled to a timely trial date and we're going to fight for it."

Goldsmith accused SDCERS of trying to avoid trying the case on its merits.

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