SRHS retiree Cynthia Almond talks about her five-year legal battle

SRHS retiree Cynthia Almond talks about her five-year legal battle

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -The first person to file a lawsuit against Singing River Health System is not happy. Retiree Cynthia Almond filed her suit when the health system pension fund was nearly terminated back in 2014 after it became financially unsustainable. She was later joined by dozens of other retirees.

Now, the five-year legal battle is officially over. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a class action settlement that some 200 system retirees had asked to be heard.

Almond talked about her half-decade-long legal ordeal and what comes next. When word came down this week from the high court, Almond felt just one thing.

“Disappointment," she said. "Disappointment in that we have never received justice.”

When she first filed suit, there were repercussions.

“I had several phone calls, some from very close friends that I had known and worked with for years that told me that I was going to be the reason that the hospital shut down, that the hospital went bankrupt and that I had no case and there was nothing wrong,” Almond recalled.

There were setbacks after setbacks in court, but she wasn’t backing down.

“Because I know it was wrong," she said. "I know we were treated wrongly. I know we worked hard to make that hospital a world-class organization.”

With the battle lost, is she bitter?

“Bitterness becomes like a root, and the more bitter you become, the more angry you become, and I can’t let myself become bitter," Almond said.

She does, however, feel betrayed.

“It’s like somebody walking up to you and smiling and patting you on the back for a good job and then turning around and stabbing you in the back," she said.

Last year, retirement benefits were cut by 25 percent, so Almond now teaches piano lessons to help make ends meet.

“All of a sudden, I had six more students, which almost covered what my cut was," she said.

Along the bumpy legal road, more than a few tears were shed.

“This situation with the hospital was a preventable situation, and it’s one that should not have even happened," Almond said.

Even with the final courtroom curtain call coming on Monday, still one question remains: Was it worth it?

“Yes, it was worth it," she said. "It was worth it for all of us.”

Almond still has something very powerful to fall back on.

“I have great faith, and I know that the Lord has seen me through all of this, and He will continue to see me through," she said.

Almond worked for more than 20 years as a registered nurse at Singing River Hospital before retiring.

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.