US court: Betty Johnson class action closed

DISTRICT Court for the NMI designated Judge Frances M. Tydinco-Gatewood said the Betty Johnson’s class action against the NMI Retirement Fund and the CNMI government “is hereby closed.”

In her Oct. 24, 2017 order, the judge instructed the Commonwealth Ports Authority and other autonomous agencies to “withdraw their motions and request for any relief in the Johnson action and any other actions against the CNMI Fund.”

The final judgment and order was issued after the Office of the Attorney General, CPA and the Settlement Fund trustee agreed that all issues in the case, including the motion for writ of mandamus, have been resolved

In 2009, retiree Betty Johnson sued the CNMI government for its failure to pay the amounts that it was required by law to pay to the Retirement Fund since 2005.

As a result, she said, the Fund would run out of money by June 2014 and would no longer be able to pay retirement benefits.

In Sept. 2013, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit and the U.S. court approved a $779 million consent judgment in case the government does not meet its obligations to the Settlement Fund.

Under the settlement agreement, retirees are entitled to 75 percent of their pension benefits.

With the opening of the Saipan casino and the rise in tourist arrivals, the CNMI government has been making timely payments to the Settlement Fund and is also voluntarily appropriating funds to restore the retirees’ 25 percent pension cut.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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