An Illinois federal judge on Thursday gave the go-ahead to a $4 million settlement in a pension dispute between a Chicago-area hospital and a class of its employees, saying the deal is appropriate given the U.S. Supreme Court’s extension of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s church exemption.
U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said that the agreement, which puts to rest the employees’ claim that Holy Cross Hospital violated ERISA when it underfunded and then terminated their pension plan, was a fair settlement given the high court’s ruling in early June saying that pension programs only need to be maintained by church affiliates to be exempt from the act.
The ruling in Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton “confirms for me this compromise is a good result for the class,” Judge Shah told the parties at the final approval hearing, adding that the payout is fair and reasonable given the stakes.
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC represents the plaintiffs in this litigation.
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