LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Kentucky high court refuses to hear Louisville's appeal in firefighter backpay case


Some retired Louisville firefighters are poised to get millions of dollars in back pay after the Kentucky Supreme Court refused Monday to hear metro government's appeal of a decade-long lawsuit.

Ann Oldfather, the attorney for the group of 140 retirees, said they are owed more than $17.6 million in back pay and interest after their overtime pay was miscalculated over a 15-year period.

The group is separate from 834 former and current firefighters who reached a $45 million settlement with the city in November 2009.

The smaller group rejected a settlement at that time because Oldfather said it offered a "pittance" to the retirees.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals had previously ruled that the contract was violated because of the miscalculation and firefighters are owed their back pay with interest.

Monday's decision shows that "you can fight city hall and win," Oldfather said. "Now it's totally over. Jerry Abramson could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money a long time ago."

Bill Patteson, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Attorney's office, which represents the city in the case, said attorneys had not yet seen the Supreme Court's ruling. He said his office could not comment on its options until reviewing the ruling and consulting with city officials.

Jim King, D-10th District and chairman of the Metro Council's budget committee, said he was not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision.

"I hope this brings it to an end and we can finally settle all of this," King said. "The larger the number, the greater challenge we'll face. But we will find a way to deal with it."

Kelly Downard, R-16th District and co-chair of the budget committee, said he was disappointed by the ruling.

"This administration has been involved in a lawsuit with almost everyone that's worked with the city and lost almost every one," Downard said.

Oldfather said she hopes the city and her clients can come to terms on the amount they are to be paid quickly so that this lawsuit can finally be behind her clients.