Judge rules NCUA does not owe fired CEO severance pay

Longtime credit union executive James Perna loses six-figure claim.

A federal judge in Michigan ruled Monday that the NCUA does not owe more than $300,000 to James Perna, a 42-year credit union president/CEO who was fired when Detroit’s Health One Credit Union was conserved and liquidated in May 2014.

Perna sued the independent federal agency over an earlier arbitration ruling over severance pay.

“Though state and federal law provides courts the authority to enforce arbitration agreements, the Federal Credit Union Act (“FCUA”), which governs this suit, severely limits that authority,” U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Tarnow in Detroit, wrote in his ruling. “Because the FCUA trumps conflicting provisions of state and federal arbitration law, Defendants (NCUA) will be granted summary judgement.”

In October 2014, Perna filed a claim for unpaid wages and fringe benefits with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration Wage and Hour Program, which determined Perna’s dispute should be resolved by the American Arbitration Association.


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