"The Retirees, who have no other means of income, have the right, both legally and morally, to be treated fairly and have their promised benefits recognized to the fullest extent possible," said partner Steve Katzman.
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (PRWEB) January 09, 2014
The Official Committee of Retired Employees (the “Committee”) in the chapter 9 bankruptcy case of the City of San Bernardino (the “City”), has selected the law firm of Bienert, Miller & Katzman PLC as its counsel. The Committee serves as a representative and fiduciary to the interests of the approximately 2,000 retired employees (the “Retirees”) in the City’s bankruptcy.*
Subsequent to their selection as Committee counsel, Bienert, Miller & Katzman has zealously represented the interests of the Retirees, negotiating with the City to ensure that the Committee has a represented voice in the process, seeking clarification with the Court to confirm that a claims bar deadline is not imposed prematurely on Retirees and substantively participating in the Court ordered mediation sessions, dialoguing with the City, California Public Employees' Retirement System (“CalPERS”), labor unions and other parties in interest to ensure that the restructuring process is fair, transparent and protects the Retirees.
Prior to the selection as Committee counsel, for the preceding year, Steven Jay Katzman, Anthony R. Bisconti, and Anne A. Uyeda of Bienert, Miller & Katzman had represented a group of 11 retired City employees in an attempt to represent those similarly-situated retirees who had no formal voice in the process and who were unable to effectively advocate their interests in the case.¹ Bienert, Miller & Katzman took on an important role early in the case, redressing the improper disclosures of each of the Retirees’ personal addresses as disclosed on the City’s List of Creditors in violation of the Retirees’ privacy rights and a potential threat of safety to the Retirees. Bienert Miller & Katzman also appeared at numerous hearings, supporting requests for active communication with the Retirees, opposing the City’s motion to reject the unions’ collective bargaining agreements that could potentially affect Retiree benefits, and voicing concerns that the City was continuing to take actions that threatened the vested interests of the Retirees.
The stakes for the Retirees are significant as the City has taken the unprecedented step of deferring millions of dollars in CalPERS obligations after the City’s filing but before the Court ordered that the City’s bankruptcy filing could proceed.² However, Bienert, Miller & Katzman is well suited for serving the Committee’s interests, with Steve Katzman’s prior service as both United States Trustee for five Judicial Districts and work as coordinator of the Bankruptcy Fraud Task Force for the United States Attorney in the Central District of California. “As someone who has spent the majority of my career with the Justice Department, I personally empathize with the Retirees, each of whom dedicated their professional lives to public service and betterment of the community. These individuals have often taken on extremely dangerous jobs, forsaking more lucrative employment for the commitments made to them by the City and the community they serve,” said Katzman. As to their treatment in the restructuring process, Katzman commented that “More so than perhaps any other constituent group in the City’s bankruptcy, the Retirees, who have no other means of income, have the right, both legally and morally, to be treated fairly and have their promised benefits recognized to the fullest extent possible.”
- In re City of San Bernardino, Case No. 6:12-bk-28006-MJ, United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Riverside Division.
¹ See, e.g., In re City of San Bernardino, Case No. 6:12-bk-28006-MJ, United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Riverside Division, Dkt. No. 78.
² See, e.g., In re City of San Bernardino, Case No. 6:12-bk-28006-MJ, United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, Riverside Division, Dkt. No. 261.
SOURCE: Bienert, Miller & Katzman, PLC
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