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DeLee v. City of Plymouth

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

March 31, 2014

ROBERT D. DELEE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF PLYMOUTH, INDIANA., Defendants

For Robert D DeLee, Plaintiff: Wayne T Ault - AUSA, U.S. Attorney's Office - Ham/IN, Hammond, IN.

For Plymouth City of, Indiana, Defendant: Sean M Surrisi, LEAD ATTORNEY, City of Plymouth, City Attorney, Plymouth, IN.

OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES T. MOODY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the court on

Page 894

cross-motions for summary judgment.[1] Summary judgment is of course to be granted when " there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When, as in the present case, the facts necessary to make a decision are undisputed, and the issue is purely one of statutory interpretation, summary judgment is especially appropriate. Adler v. Madigan, 939 F.2d 476, 478 (7th Cir. 1991).

The issue in this case is whether the City of Plymouth, Indiana (hereinafter, " Plymouth" or " the City" ), violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. § 4316 (hereinafter, " USERRA" ) when it reduced or pro-rated[2] a longevity component of plaintiff Robert D. DeLee's (hereinafter, " DeLee" ) salary. DeLee is a Plymouth police officer who, at the times relevant here, had been employed in that capacity for 11 previous years. DeLee is also a reserve officer in the United States Air Force, and was called-up for eight month's active-duty deployment from September 1, 2010, to May 11, 2011, occurring during his 12th year of employment by Plymouth. Whether or not the USERRA requires Plymouth to pay him longevity pay for those eight months is the issue in this case.

Plymouth's longevity pay is an amount paid as a lump sum to police officers who have been continuously employed by Plymouth for at least three years, intended to serve as an incentive to remain in that employment. (DE #8-4 at 1.) It is paid annually on the first pay date following the individual's anniversary date of employment in an amount equal to $225 times years of continuous employment. (DE #8-2 at 3; DE #8-3 at 1.) For example, after completing ten years of employment an officer would receive a payment on $2250.00 in his first paycheck in the eleventh year.

At all times that matter here, Plymouth had three relevant ordinances governing longevity pay. First, Ordinance Nos. 2009-1987 and 20010-2009, which in pertinent part provide in identical terms:

Longevity pay is additional compensation to be paid to a qualified police officer. A qualified police officer is one who has at least three (3) years of continuous service to the City.
Longevity pay is calculated to be Two Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($225.00). The amount to be paid to a qualified police officer is $225.00 multiplied by the number of years of continuous service. The maximum amount paid shall be $4,500.00. Longevity shall be paid on the pay day following the anniversary date of employment for that individual.**
. . .
**Except for those instances noted in Ordinance No. 1480.

(DE #8-2 at 3; #8-3 at 1.) Then, Ordinance No. 1480, which in ...


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