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Storrs v. University of Cincinnati

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

February 14, 2018

COLLEEN McTAGUE STORRS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE (DOC. 97)

          Timothy S. Black United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This civil case is before the Court on the motion (Doc. 97) of Plaintiff, Colleen McTague Storrs, for the Court to judicially notice her benefits under the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (“STRS”), as well as the parties' responsive briefings (Docs. 99, 101, 102, 103).[1]

         At this point, the sole issue remaining for trial is Dr. McTague's claim that Defendant, the University of Cincinnati (“UC”), violated the EPA by paying her less than male Assistant Professors in the Geography Department. For that claim, Dr. McTague seeks to recover the difference between what she was paid as an Assistant Professor and what UC paid to the male Assistant Professors, as well as damages to compensate her for the effect that discrepancy had on her retirement payments under the STRS.

         On February 5, 2018, Dr. McTague filed the instant motion requesting that the Court take judicial notice of the formula used to calculate her retirement payments under the STRS. (Doc. 97).

         II. STANDARD

         The taking of judicial notice is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 201. That rule provides, in relevant part, that the Court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(1)-(2).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Dr. McTague argues that the Court should take judicial notice of the formula used to calculate her retirement benefits under the STRS. (Doc. 97 at 2-3). Dr. McTague filed two documents to aid the Court in taking judicial notice: her STRS statement, and the STRS's publication Service Retirement and Plans of Payment. (Doc. 101-2).

         Initially, the Court notes that the STRS statement and the STRS's publication provide two different equations. Specifically, the STRS statement provides that Dr. McTague's monthly retirement benefit is calculated by multiplying her “Final Average Salary” (see Ohio Rev. Code § 3307.501) by 36.48%, and again by 85%, and then dividing the resulting number by twelve (months). (Doc. 101-2 at 2). In contrast, the STRS's publication provides that Dr. McTague's monthly benefit is calculated by multiplying her “Final Average Salary” by a number on a chart that corresponds to her age at retirement and her years of service, and dividing the resulting number by 12 (months). (See Doc. 102 at 22).

         These two equations appear to be different means of arriving at, approximately, the same result. Nevertheless, the formulas are different on their face, and the Court must determine which, if either, is appropriate for judicial notice.

         The Court finds that the formula on Plaintiff's STRS statement is not appropriate for judicial notice. The formula is listed on a paper bearing STRS letterhead, but devoid of any other context. This is hardly a source “whose accuracy cannot be questioned” as required by Federal Rule of Evidence 201.

         However, the Court finds the formula provided in the STRS publication is appropriate for judicial notice. The Court cannot reasonably question the accuracy of an official publication from STRS, the entity tasked with administering and managing state teachers retirement benefits. See Ohio Rev. Code § 3307.01, et seq. Further, the formula for calculating ...


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