Settlement says SRHS must pay $149 million to pension fund - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Settlement says SRHS must pay $149 million to pension fund

According to attorneys, a settlement to resolve the Singing River Health System pension fund dispute has been reached. (Photo source: WLOX News) According to attorneys, a settlement to resolve the Singing River Health System pension fund dispute has been reached. (Photo source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Attorneys tell WLOX News a settlement to resolve the Singing River Health System pension fund dispute has been reached. If a judge signs off on that agreement, retirees involved in the federal case will get the money they're owed.

Court documents filed Sunday detail the settlement. Those documents say if the settlement is approved, "The Class members will be returned to the same position in which they would have been had SRHS made all of the annual required contributions to the Trust between 2009 and 2014." 

Read the original court documents here: http://shout.lt/bnYRwhttp://shout.lt/bnYSdhttp://shout.lt/bnYSH

Singing River Health System will pay $156 million into the Trust.  Almost $150 million will go to the pension fund. The other $6.4 million will pay any attorney fees or expenses.

“This recovery represents 100 percent of the money owed,” said plaintiffs' attorney 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.”

The agreement also contains language Jackson County supervisors approved at their last meeting. That language says the county will pay $13.6 million "to support indigent care and principally to prevent default on a bond issue by supporting the operations of SRHS."

According Reeves, the settlement deal says current hospital trustees must resign allowing new leadership, and a special fiduciary will be appointed to protect pension holders.

Attorneys for retirees and the hospital system spent a year negotiating this agreement. "The settlement as proposed in the accompanying documents provides substantial relief to the proposed class," they note in their motion. "The terms of the settlement," attorneys write, "are fair, reasonable and adequate, and the Settlement Agreement is the product of extensive and vigorous negotiation conducted during multiple separate mediation sessions."

If the agreement is adopted by the federal judge, it says the plan will be monitored under court supervision and cannot be changed without court approval. A date for the judge to rule on this motion is not in the court files.

SRHS attorney Kelly Sessoms released this statement on behalf of the health system Monday afternoon: 

Singing River Health System has agreed to settle the pension litigation and work towards the end of the pension matter for the best interests of all involved. The proposed settlement provides for a plan to resolve the federal court class actions as well as some of the state court cases. The settlement is subject to approval by the Special Fiduciary and by the federal and state courts. Upon final approval, the System will make payments to the retirement plan trust over several decades. Specifically, the System has agreed to pay the trust approximately $149M over 35 years. The proposed settlement has been the subject of intense negotiations among the attorneys for the respective parties, including three separate mediations in which all parties had the opportunity to participate, along with the able assistance of Judge David Houston as the mediator. Singing River Health System believes that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable for all concerned and will allow it to focus on its mission of providing quality health care to the citizens of Jackson County.

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    A settlement has been filed in the SRHS retirees' dispute and not everyone is happy about it. (Photo source: WLOX News)A settlement has been filed in the SRHS retirees' dispute and not everyone is happy about it. (Photo source: WLOX News)

    A settlement has been filed in court to resolve the Singing River Health System pension fund dispute. However, not all retirees fall under that settlement and not all retirees are satisfied with it.

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    A settlement has filed in court to resolve the Singing River Health System pension fund dispute. Under the terms of the agreement, SRHS will pay $156 million into the trust. Of that, $150 million will go to the pension fund with the remaining $6 million will cover attorney fees and other expenses.  Not all retirees fall under a settlement.

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