Mercer Asks Court to Drop Charges in Milwaukee Pension Suit

July 7, 2008 ( - Mercer has filed a motion for summary judgment asking a district court to dismiss all claims against it in a lawsuit claiming the firm was negligent in its role as actuary to the Milwaukee County pension plan.

The county, the Milwaukee County Employees’ Retirement System, and its governing Pension Board, sued Mercer for its alleged role in the enactment of a BackDROP provision. The BackDROP allowed county workers to add to their pensions by purchasing credit for time worked decades earlier during part-time or seasonal jobs.

In its motion, Mercer laid the blame for the costly pension provision on Milwaukee County’s former Director of Human Resources, Gary Dobbert, whom it said “designed the BackDROP with “minimal help” from anyone and without consulting Mercer on its design.” Dobbert served jail time in 2004 on convictions related to lying about getting an actuarial study of the new benefit.

Among other things, the county claimed Mercer should have told individuals at a Pension Study Commission hearing that it had not yet performed a cost analysis of the pension provision. Though Mercer later presented Dobbert with a cost analysis that was grossly underestimated, the actuary presented evidence in its motion that Dobbert did not pass the information along to pension board members, and therefore the information from Mercer was not relied on in its decision to adopt the BackDROP provision.

In fact, Mercer contends that “the evidence in the record demonstrates that no one at the County Board relied on anything Mercer did or did not do.” Mercer’s evidence consisted of a multitude of comments from sworn statements given by a number of county officials.

A previous effort by Mercer to convince the court of the county’s fault was turned away (See Mercer Loses Evidentiary Issue in Milwaukee DB Advice Suit ).

Mercer’s motion is here .