Assembly passes bill to help settle St. Joseph’s pension plan lawsuits
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly gave its approval today to legislation sponsored by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi to help the members of the St. Joseph’s Health Services pension plan reach settlements in their multiple class-action lawsuits.
The bill (2018-S 2112, 2018-H 8166) would better position the members of the insolvent plan to reach fair, equitable settlements with the multiple defendants of the lawsuits filed on their behalf in state and federal court yesterday.
The $85 million St. Joseph pension plan covers about 2,700 current and former employees of Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals, but was left insolvent when contributions to it ceased following the sale of Fatima and Roger Williams to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014.
“This legislation could provide a proven legal strategy that has been used successfully to encourage settlements in other high profile cases in Rhode Island. It’s a tool that can encourage faster settlement of claims, making the pensioners whole or as close to whole as possible,” said President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “The beneficiaries of this pension plan, many of whom are my constituents, worked hard throughout their careers and did everything required of them to earn a secure retirement. They deserve better than to have the rug pulled out from under them.”
Said Leader Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), “Whatever happens with the litigation, all of Rhode Island wants to see the fairest possible settlements for the thousands of people whose retirement has been thrown into chaos by the pension fund’s insolvency. This legislation will help ensure that they are able to pursue every avenue for restitution that is available to them, and reach equitable settlements.”
Similar legislation was enacted in 2014 to induce settlements in the 38 Studios litigation, in 2006 to address the Station fire litigation, and in 1993 to address litigation stemming from the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corporation (RISDIC) credit union collapse.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903