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West Metro Fire District Agrees To Settle Retiree Lawsuit for $1.2M

By Heidi Culbertson

May 29, 2019   Colorado Blog, Colorado Business / Commercial Litigation

West Metro Fire District Agrees To Settle Retiree Lawsuit for $1.2M

Brian Matise, a shareholder with Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine,  fought for dozens of retired firefighters from the West Metro Fire Protection District in order to secure their retiree health benefits. Matise represented the retired first responders, and recently negotiated an agreement with the district to pay the firefighters and their families $1.2 million to settle the class action lawsuit.

In December of 2018, Matise filed the lawsuit against West Metro on behalf of the former firefighters regarding the mishandling of the approximately $1.8 million in their retiree health account. Since 1996, many of the retirees had contributed a portion of their salaries to a department administered health insurance fund believing the money would be available to them to pay for their medical expenses after they retired. But in 2015, the West Metro department decided it would not be able to fund medical benefits for retirees, calling them an “unfunded liability.” The retirees were then notified their medical insurance would be terminated in 2017, and the $1.8 million in the retiree health fund was turned over to current firefighters for their use with their medical expenses when they retired.

“This was never about the money involved,” said retired firefighter Tim O’Hayre, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “This case was always about morals and ethics  Accepting the settlement was without a doubt the best for all involved retirees.”

About Brian Matise

Brian Matise’s legal experience includes all aspects of general civil practice with an emphasis on complex commercial litigation, mass tort product liability litigation, special district and homeowner association law, and insurance coverage litigation. Mr. Matise has successfully tried over a dozen cases to a jury verdict or judgment and obtained several million dollars in settlements for clients. Brian Matise and the team of commercial litigation attorneys at Burg Simpson are a dynamic legal team serving clients in Colorado and across the nation. Over the past 40+ years, the firm has helped individuals obtain justice and the compensation they deserve.

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