Motion to reconsider SRHS pension settlement rejected by judge

Motion to reconsider SRHS pension settlement rejected by judge

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX)

The motion to reconsider the Singing River Health System pension settlement agreement has been rejected by federal Judge Louis Guirola of Gulfport.

The appeal was filed by attorneys Harvey Barton and Earl Denham on Thursday afternoon, and was denied by the judge Friday. Barton and Denham represent more than 200 Singing River Health System retirees who do not want to be part of the class action settlement.

That settlement was approved by Judge Guirola eight days ago.

Under the agreement, the health system will be required to pay $150 million into the beleaguered pension fund over the next 35 years.

In addition, Jackson County will contribute $13 million to help offset uncompensated care at the health system. Meanwhile, the pension fund is in danger of going under with liabilities of $328 million and assets of $123 million.

That means any final resolution will probably mean retirees will not get 100% of the money they were promised.

According to special fiduciary Tracie Christian, if benefits are not reduced by about 40%, the fund will go bankrupt by 2025.

Harvey Barton told WLOX News Now he plans on appealing this latest ruling to the fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The deadline to do so is 30 days.

This will be the second time this process has taken place in the past year.

Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has agreed to take up the pension fund case in conference at a hearing on February 16th. Even so, that does not mean the high court will agree to hear the case.

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