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Judge strikes down changes to police pension plan

A 2010 overhaul of the pension system for Baltimore’s police and firefighters is unconstitutional, a U.S. District Court judge ruled.

Senior Judge Marvin J. Garbis earlier found the change from a variable benefit to a staggered annual cost-of-living adjustment was a “substantial impairment” of thousands of union members’ rights.

On Thursday, he rejected the city’s claims that the change was a “reasonable and necessary” response to a budget crunch, saying the city could have achieved similar savings without discriminating on the basis of age, as the COLA did.

The challengers, represented by Saul Ewing LLP, have estimated the change cost union members $300 million.

The case is Cherry v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, MJG-10-1447.