A federal judge has denied the state’s motions to dismiss the claims brought on behalf of retired state employees that the Cuomo administration and the Unified Court System illegally raised retirees’ health insurance premiums last year in a cost-saving move. The eight suits were brought on behalf of the workers who retired between 1983 and 2011.

The retirees’ unions challenged the increases as violating the labor contracts in force at the time the employees retired and the contracts clause of the U.S. Constitution. The separate suits were all assigned to Northern District Judge Mae D’Agostino (See Profile). D’Agostino decided in a series of nearly identical rulings from Albany on Dec. 3 and 4 that it would be premature to throw out the suits. “While defendants rely upon the economic emergency, a resolution of the issues surrounding defendants’ fiscal crisis and economic situation will involve questions not appropriately raised on a motion for dismissal,” she wrote in Donohue v. New York State, 1:11-cv-1530.