"This case exemplifies the top-notch CSLEA legal team and Legal Defense Fund that we are so very proud of," - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.
Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court affirmed prior rulings of the State Personnel Board and CalPERS Board that the Department of Justice could not condition reinstatement of a Peace Officer on her meeting the POST requirements of her position as if she were a new employee.
CSLEA Senior Legal Counsel Jim Vitko and Legal Counsel Erin Eckelman assumed representation of Special Agent Supervisor Angie Resendez beginning in 2010. Ms. Resendez had previously retired due to a duty related injury. After about four months, her doctor determined she was able to return back to work. Ms. Resendez applied for reinstatement through CalPERS and was reinstated to her position. She notified DOJ that she wished to return and was told that she would have to go through another background investigation and successfully pass both medical and psychological examinations as if she was a new applicant for the position she previously occupied. After CSLEA successfully represented Ms. Resendez before both the CalPERS and State Personnel Boards, DOJ brought the matter to the Superior Court in an attempt to reverse both decisions.
After more than a year of litigation, the matter was finally concluded when the Honorable James C. Chalfant ordered that Ms. Resendez be reinstated to her position as Special Agent Supervisor with DOJ, with back pay retroactive to 2010. The Court stated emphatically in its decision that once CalPERS clears a formerly disabled employee for return to duty, the State has a mandatory duty to reinstate that person and cannot refuse to take the employee back.
While the battle may still continue in appellate court, this decision represents a significant positive step for those retired members who may wish to reinstate after disability retirement.
"This case exemplifies the top-notch CSLEA legal team and Legal Defense Fund that we are so very proud of," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "This is a victory for Ms. Resendez, I know it has been a long battle. This case also emphasizes the importance of maintaining full membership status with CSLEA which affords its members the quality representation as provided in this case by CSLEA Attorneys Jim Vitko and Erin Eckelman. Congratulations to them both on a job well done."