BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Retirees of Singing River Health System have received a big shock this evening.
A court ruling handed down late this afternoon cuts benefits for nearly 1,000 hospital retirees by 25% immediately. The order was issued by Special Judge James Bell on the recommendation of financial representative Traci Christian.
Attorney Jim Reeves released this statement:
The SRHS pension fund has been in dire straits for more than 3 1/2 years. This comes after the health system stopped contributing to the fund in 2009 and lawsuits were filed by retirees.
Harvey Barton, an attorney for some 200 of the retirees, claims that it's not going to get any better, it's only going to get worse rapidly. Many retirees, including the original plaintiff in the case, Cynthia Almond, expressed their frustration and disappointment at the ruling.
Barton added that under the proposed settlement, retirees were supposed to be given 60 days notice of any benefit cuts, but in this case, that did not happen.
The settlement, which was approved earlier this year by a Gulfport federal judge, is under appeal by Barton and Co-attorney Earl Denham to the fifth U.S. circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.