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Constitutional Law – takings — public employee benefits

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//January 30, 2014//

Constitutional Law – takings — public employee benefits

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//January 30, 2014//

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United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit

Civil

Constitutional Law – takings — public employee benefits

A county’s failure to provide cost-free health insurance to retirees does not violate the Takings Clause.

“Hussey’s consternation is understandable. For many years, she participated in the County’s health insurance plan and received health care services without having to pay any deductibles, co-payments, or co-insurance charges. But there is no evidence in the record that the County had ever failed to pay a health care insurance premium on Hussey’s behalf as it had promised. Additionally, even assuming for the moment that she had not been asked to pay any deductibles, co-payments, or co-insurance charges prior to 2006, this in and of itself does not mean that the County had promised her these benefits under the applicable ordinances, thereby creating a constitutionally cognizable property interest. See, e.g., Brown v. City of Mich. City, 462 F.3d 720, 729 (7th Cir. 2006) (city’s historical practice of allowing its residents to use its parks free of charge did not create a property interest), reh’g denied en banc, No. 05?3912, (7th Cir. Oct. 12, 2006); Coghlan v. Starkey, 845 F.2d 566, 570 (5th Cir. 1988) (plaintiff’s expectation that she would continue receiving free municipal water based on past practices was insufficient to create a property interest).”

Affirmed.

12-3625 Hussey v. Milwaukee County

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Callahan, Mag. J., Lee, J.

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