June 08, 2017

St. Joseph's Healthcare System has reached a tentative settlement with nurses in a putative consolidated class action alleging the medical center violated the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act by underfunding an employee pension plan by at least $183 million, according to documents filed in New Jersey federal court Thursday.

U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez on Thursday directed the court to reopen the proposed class action following a Wednesday notice of settlement from lawyers for St, Joseph’s Healthcare System Inc. and St. Joseph's nurse Donna Garbaccio. The notice says the settlement will be executed on July 6, and will be submitted to the court for approval later that month.

Suits filed in May 2016 and subsequently consolidated dispute St. Joseph’s claim that the plan is exempt under ERISA because it qualifies as a church plan. The complaints, which were filed by different law firms, say the plan is actually maintained by a business — not a church. In March of this year, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Keller Rohrback LLP were recommended by U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III to lead the consolidated class action.

The full article can be read here.