The law firm of Reeves & Mestayer is proud to announce that a settlement has been reached with Singing River Hospital and the individual defendants who managed Singing River Hospital and Jackson County. The petition to approve the settlement has been submitted before Federal Judge Louis Guirola. If preliminary approval is granted a fairness hearing could be scheduled within the next 60 days.
“This recovery represents 100% of the money owed,” said Jim Reeves. “Essentially, Singing River Hospital has agreed to pay back everything they owed into the retirement plan while making key changes at the hospital, including resignation of trustees so that new leadership will be in place going forward.”
One of the principle features of the settlement agreement is that Singing River Hospital must pay $149,950,000 to the retirement plan over time. They must also pay attorney fees of up to $6,450,000 and $125,000 in expenses.
“I am most proud of the fact that, as part of the settlement, retirees who worked hard for their benefits will not have to pay any fees or expenses for the recovery of their pension,” Reeves said. “This is unusual in these types of situations.”
In addition to Singing River Hospital’s role in the settlement, Jackson County has agreed to support Singing River Hospital operations primarily to prevent a bond default and to support indigent care. The County will also pay an additional $13,600,000 to SRHS between 2016 and 2024. The combined amounts account for all the monies SRHS failed to deposit between 2009 and 2014.
Other key elements of the settlement include the appointment, by Chancery Court, of a Special Fiduciary with sole responsibility to the trust. The current retirement plan cannot be changed without the Special Fiduciary and Chancery Court approval. The settlement also provides that the Chancery Court and Special Fiduciary will monitor the settlement, the retirement plan, and Singing River Hospital’s financial status.
“Over the past year, our goal has been to obtain, for those in the pension plan, the benefits they were promised, said Matthew Mestayer. “Jim and I have reviewed thousands of documents pertaining to SRHS’s failed pension plan in our pursuit of this settlement that will secure the pension well into the future.”
Jim Reeves was appointed as lead counsel for all the Federal lawsuits filed against Singing River Health System, and their collection of partners, by U. S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. on June 5, 2015.
Reeves & Mestayer law firm has taken the following steps in the Southern District Federal Court on behalf of plan members:
- Filed the first multi-count class action lawsuit against SRHS
- Filed and won a Stay Order stopping SRHS from terminating the plan
- Filed and won a Motion for the appointment of an Independent Trustee to manage the plan
- Reviewed and rejected the initial settlement proposal from SRHS as the proposal lacked details and was a non-binding promise leaving retirees with no guarantees of payment
- Gained a court ruling stating SRHS does, in fact, owe unpaid contributions to the pension fund
The law firm of Reeves & Mestayer was the first firm to file a federal multi-count class action lawsuit against Singing River Health System, Board of Trustees, TransAmerica Retirement, KPMG, Chris Anderson, and 13 others.
If you, or a family member, are in need of legal information or assistance, contact us here on our website or call Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC, at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977.