Decision Maureen O'Sullivan v. Teachers' Retirement System, CR-07-30 (CRAB, 2008)

Date: 12/23/2008
Organization: Division of Administrative Law Appeals
Docket Number: CR-07-30
  • Petitioner: Maureen O'Sullivan
  • Respondent: Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System

Table of Contents


Petitioner Maureen O'Sullivan seeks to appeal from a decision of the Massachusetts Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) denying her request to un-retire so that she may qualify, under Connecticut retirement law, to purchase creditable service in Connecticut for her service as a teacher in Massachusetts. The Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) heard the matter on October 2, 2007, and admitted twenty-three exhibits.

DALA dismissed O'Sullivan's appeal on the ground that it had not been "timely filed in accordance with the provisions of G. L. c. 32, § 16(4).1 Failure to timely file an appeal from a retirement board's decision is jurisdictional.

The DALA decision is incorporated by reference and its Findings of Fact 1-16 are adopted as our own. We affirm DALA's dismissal of O'Sullivan's appeal for the reasons stated in the DALA decision.

On appeal to us, O'Sullivan contends, without citing any authority, that because TRS "raised the issue of timeliness of the appeal, [TRS] has the obligation of proving" our lack of jurisdiction. 2 O'Sullivan is mistaken, however. "The burden is on the party asserting jurisdiction to prove jurisdictional facts." 3

In all events, the record adequately supports the conclusion that O'Sullivan failed to file her appeal within fifteen days of receiving notice of the TRS decision. O'Sullivan herself acknowledged that TRS sent her its notice of denial "on December 12, 2006." 4 That was a Tuesday. In the ordinary course, O'Sullivan would have received the notice by Friday, December 15, 2006. She did not mail her notice of appeal before January 3, 2007, some eighteen days later. 5 Under G. L. c. 32, § 16(4), however, for us to have jurisdiction she had to file her claim in writing with us "within fifteen days of notification" of the TRS decision.

Accordingly, this case is dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.


Joseph I. Martin
Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission Appointee

Governor's Appointee

David A. Guberman
Assistant Attorney General
Attorney General's Appointee

Date: December 23, 2008

1 DALA Decision at 4.

2 Letter dated December 12, 2007, from James H. Quirk, Esquire.

3 Miller v. Miller, 448 Mass. 320, 325 (2007).

4 DALA Ex. 22 (letter from O'Sullivan to the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, including "a timeline for the events from [O'Sullivan's] initial communication with [TRS] to the denial of [her] request for reinstatement and [her] subsequent appeal"). O'Sullivan's acknowledgment is on the last, unnumbered page of the timeline. The notice letter is DALA Ex. 1.

5 O'Sullivan's notice of appeal is DALA Ex. 2.

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