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Sylvestre v. Minnesota

Supreme Court of Minnesota
214 N.W.2d 658 (1973)


Prior to 1967, Minnesota law promised judges that, upon retirement, they would receive pensions equal to half the salary paid to sitting judges. Statutes enacted in 1967 and 1969, however, limited retired judges to a pension equal to half the salary paid to sitting judges at the time of their retirement. Six judges (plaintiffs) sought a declaratory judgment that the new statutes did not affect their pensions. Four of these judges had retired prior to the new legislation. One, Harold Flynn, retired after the statutes took effect. Another, J.K. Underhill, elected retirement before the statutes took effect, but continued working until after they took effect. The trial court ruled that the new statutes did not affect the pensions of judges who had elected to retire before the effective date of the statutes, but did apply to the pensions of judges electing retirement after the effective date. Of the six judges who sued the state, only Judge Flynn would have his pension affected. The judges appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Knutson, C. J.)

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