Welcome to the Owens v St. Anthony Medical Center, Inc. Settlement webpage. This website is intended to keep Class members informed regarding the Class Action Settlement. While the District Court has approved the Notice of Proposed Settlement (the “Class Notice”) and ordered that certain documents filed with the Court be posted on this website, the content of this website is the responsibility of Plaintiffs’ Counsel and has not been approved by the Court.
The case involves the St. Anthony Medical Center, Inc. Pension Plan (the “SAMC Plan” or the “Plan”), a noncontributory defined benefit pension plan.
The lawsuit filed on June 2, 2014 alleges that SAMC denied the Plan’s participants and beneficiaries the protections of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) by improperly claiming that the Plan is a “church plan” exempt from ERISA. The lawsuit further alleges that SAMC, as the Plan sponsor, violated ERISA in a variety of ways, and, alternatively, that application of the church plan exemption to the SAMC Plan violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
The lawsuit was settled on November 27, 2018.
The Settlement Class
On April 16, 2019, the Settlement was preliminarily approved on behalf of the following Class:
All persons who, as of the Settlement Date, are or were Plan participants, whether vested or non-vested, and their beneficiaries.
As defined in the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Date is the date on which the Settlement has been approved by a Final Order of the Court that has become Final.
The Settlement resolves all claims against Defendants and applies to all past and present, vested and non-vested, participants in the Plan and their beneficiaries.
Benefits to the Settlement Class
The Settlement Agreement provides for a $4 million contribution from Defendants to the Settlement Class. Plaintiffs are requesting $1 million of that amount to go towards attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, and incentive awards for the Plaintiffs. The remaining $3 million will be distributed to the Settlement Class in an amount proportional to the benefits lost by each Class member.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know whether I am part of the Settlement Class?
The Court has certified this case as a class action for settlement purposes only. You are a member of the Settlement Class if, as of the date on which the Final Order approving the Settlement becomes Final, you are or were a participant in the Plan, whether vested or nonvested, or the beneficiary of such a participant.
Q: What if I do nothing?
If you do nothing and you are a Class Member, you will participate in the Settlement as described above in this Notice if the Settlement is approved.
Q: Can I exclude myself from the Settlement?
You do not have the right to exclude yourself from the Settlement. For settlement purposes, the Action was certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(1) and/or 23(b)(2) (non-opt-out class) because the Court determined the requirements of that rule were satisfied. Thus, it is not possible for any of the members of the Settlement Class to exclude themselves from the Settlement. As a member of the Settlement Class, you will be bound by any judgments or orders that are entered in the Action for all claims that were or could have been asserted in the Action against Defendants or are otherwise included in the release under the Settlement. The Court resolves the issues for all Class Members.
Although members of the Settlement Class cannot opt-out of the Settlement, they can object to the Settlement and ask the Court not to approve the Settlement.
Q: How will the lawyers be paid?
Prior to the Fairness Hearing, Class Counsel will apply for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses, and incentive awards for the Named Plaintiffs. The total amount that Class Counsel will seek for fees, expenses, and incentive awards will not exceed $1 million. SAMC will be responsible for payment of this amount. Any payment of attorneys’ fees, expenses, and incentive awards to Named Plaintiffs will not reduce the amount of the guarantee or the one-time payments to be made to certain Class members whose benefits are not vested.
To date, Class Counsel has not received any payment for their services in prosecuting this case on behalf of the Settlement Class, nor have Class Counsel been reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses. The fee requested by Class Counsel would compensate all of Plaintiffs’ counsel for their efforts in achieving the Settlement for the benefit of the Settlement Class and for their risk in undertaking this representation on a contingency basis. The Court will determine the actual amount of the award.
Q: What if my question is not listed here?
The Class notice is posted on this website and has answers to many more frequently asked questions. Please review the Class Notice first to see if it answers your question.
If you are a Settlement Class member and you have questions regarding the Settlement, please contact Class Counsel at (202) 408-3610 or via email.
Please do not contact the Court. Its personnel will not be able to answer your questions.