OSF HealthCare System Settlement

Welcome to the Smith v. OSF HealthCare System settlement website. This website is intended to keep Settlement Class Members informed regarding the Settlement. The content of this website is the responsibility of Class Counsel and has not been approved by the Court.

On January 15, 2021, the Honorable Staci M. Yandle granted final approval of the Settlement.

Background

On April 27, 2016, Plaintiff Sheilar Smith filed a class action Complaint in this Court against OSF HealthCare System and various other defendants (collectively, the “Defendants”) alleging violations of ERISA and improper treatment of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis Employees Pension Plan and the Retirement Plan for Employees of Saint Anthony’s Health Center (collectively, the “OSF Plans”) as “church plans” resulting in, among other things, placing the pensions of participants and beneficiaries at risk by underfunding the OSF Plans. Separately, on May 3, 3016, Bailey, et al. v. OSF HealthCare System, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01137 (C.D. Ill.), a class action with similar claims was filed in the Central District of Illinois. The claims from the Bailey action were included in the Fourth Amended Class Action Complaint by stipulation of the Parties following voluntary dismissal of that action on September 28, 2017. Bailey v. OSF Healthcare Sys., No. 1:16-cv-013337-SLD-TSH, 2017 WL 4319113 (C.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2017). The Fourth Amended Class Action Complaint alleged that the Defendants denied ERISA protections to the participants and beneficiaries of the OSF Plans by incorrectly claiming that the OSF Plans qualified as ERISA-exempt “church plans.” The Parties negotiated a settlement of this case between October of 2019 and July of 2020. On July 30, 2020, the Parties filed a notice of Settlement to inform the Court that they had reached agreement.

The Settlement Class

On January 15, 2021, final approval of the Settlement was granted on behalf of the following Settlement Class:

All vested or non-vested participants of the OSF Plans (and their beneficiaries) as of the date of the filing of the Complaint (April 27, 2016).

Settlement FAQs

Q: What does the Settlement provide?

The Settlement provides for a $25 million cash contribution from the Defendants into the Plans and other non-monetary equitable relief. The first $5 million installment of the Settlement Payment will be put into the Master Trust in fiscal year 2021. Defendants will continue to make cash contributions of $5 million per year through fiscal year 2025. Defendants’ cash contribution requirement ends once the amounts deposited into the Master Trust pursuant to this Settlement reach $25 million.

The cash amount will be contributed to the Master Trust, not to individual participants and beneficiaries. Your pension benefit will not increase or be recalculated as a result of the Settlement. You will not receive any individual cash benefit recovery.

The above description of the operation of the Settlement is only a summary. The governing provisions are set forth in the Settlement Agreement.

Q: What rights am I giving up in the Settlement?

The Final Judgment fully, finally, and forever releases, relinquishes, and discharges any and all actual or potential claims, actions, causes of action, demands, obligations, liabilities, attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs arising out of the allegations of the Complaint, or otherwise, in connection with the sponsorship, funding, maintenance, operation or termination of, or distributions from, the OSF Plans, including any claims that were brought or could have been brought under federal law or state law as of the date of the Settlement Agreement by any member of the Settlement Class, including any challenge to the “church plan” status of the OSF Plans. Released Claims do not include any claims which may arise out of this Settlement Agreement itself.

Q: How do I know whether I am part of the Settlement?

The Court has certified the Action as a class action. You are a member of the Settlement Class if you are a vested or non-vested participant or beneficiary of the OSF Plans as of April 27, 2016.

Q: Do I have a lawyer in the Action?

The law firms of Keller Rohrback L.L.P. and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC (“Class Counsel”) represent Named Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class.

Q: How will the lawyers be paid?

Class Counsel applied for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses, and incentive awards for the Named Plaintiffs. The Court approved that motion at the Fairness Hearing on January 15, 2021.