JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The legal fight for current and former employees of Singing River Health System to protect their pension plan took another step Thursday with the filing of a class action lawsuit in federal court.
The lawsuit was filed by Biloxi attorney Jim Reeves, along with the Mobile firm of Cunningham & Bounds, in Southern District Federal Court on behalf of six clients - three current employees and three who are retired. The lawsuit is separate from the current chancery court lawsuit filed by Earl Denham and Harvey Barton.
"One, we've asked the court to approve a class action that would benefit all the potential people effected by the pension plan and the failure of the pension plan," he said. "Second, we've alleged multiple counts of fraud, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract."
In addition, Reeves is seeking punitive damages. But, at this point, before any investigation, the suit does not indicate a specific monetary amount.
Singing River Health System has 20 days to either admit or deny the allegations. Typically, the court would then schedule conferences, discovery and, then, trial dates.
Reeves said that as of Thursday evening, Health System officials had not responded and, upon learning of the suit, they would not make a public comment.
"This is a major first step and we intend to leave no stone uncovered to determine what happened with this money in the end and do everything we can to see the people get what they were promised they were getting and thought they were getting up until just a few months ago."
Read the full court documents for Almond v Singing River Health System:
Civil Cover Sheet: http://shout.lt/NL3T
Exhibit A/State Court Record: http://shout.lt/NL3p
Exhibit B/2010 IRS Determination Letter: http://shout.lt/NL39
Exhibit C/2014 IRS Determination Letter: http://shout.lt/NL3f
Attorney Jim Reeves said the effort by Singing River Health System officials to move Friday's scheduled hearing to federal court was successful and that judge Neil Harris will likely be present Friday morning to make the announcement."