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Former Le Sueur County Employee Represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP, Files Negligence Lawsuit over Pension

On October 7, 2020, a former Le Sueur County employee filed a proposed class action against the county on behalf of himself and other similarly situated county employees. The lawsuit alleges that Le Sueur County negligently failed to notify the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (“PERA”) when county employees took leaves of absence from work.

The county is required to notify PERA when an employee takes a leave of absence. Once PERA is notified of an employee’s leave, the association can then offer the employee the opportunity to purchase salary credits. By purchasing salary credits, the employee can effectively restore their earnings to the level that the employee would have collected had they continued to work full time. The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of the county’s failure to notify PERA, county employees lost the opportunity to purchase salary credits that would remedy any negative impact that leave could have on their retirement benefits.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Thelemann retired in 2020 after 29 years of service with the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department. Before retirement, he took a leave of absence and his salary was reduced during his leave. The county did not notify PERA of Thelemann’s leave of absence, and Thelemann consequently lost the opportunity to purchase salary credits, which in turn substantially reduced his monthly retirement benefits. Thelemann brings this case on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated current and former county employees.

“When employers like Le Sueur County neglect their obligations, their employees suffer,” said Plaintiff’s counsel, Melanie A. Johnson of Nichols Kaster, PLLP.  “We want to ensure that dedicated public employees like Mr. Thelemann are compensated for the lost opportunity to receive benefits they otherwise could have collected.”

The case is titled Thelemann v. County of Le Sueur, Court File No. 40-CV-20-849, and is filed in Minnesota’s First Judicial District. The Plaintiffs are represented by Anna P. Prakash and Melanie A. Johnson of Nichols Kaster, PLLP.