The lawsuit filed by major pension funds recently against executives of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. amounts to grandstanding.
The suit won't do a thing to raise the price of the funds' Columbia/HCA stock, the alleged reason for their concern.
And it puts the pension funds in a peculiar position. Should they continue owning the stock while the company is involved in litigation that could drag on for years?
Further, the suit puts some of the investigative onus onto the pension funds if they are to make their case. That will take pension fund resources, including management's time, away from other, potentially more profitable investment areas. And the amount of recovery could be negligible.
Finally, the suit is precipitous. The allegations of fraudulent billing practices against Columbia/HCA still are being investigated by federal and state authorities.
Led by H. Carl McCall, comptroller of New York State and trustee of its $90 billion Common Retirement Fund, and joined by 11 other pension funds, the suit against Columbia/HCA seeks to ensure directors don't profit from the alleged fraudulent business practices.
The legal wrangling will likely drag on for years. And the pension fund litigants will have a hard time competing against government investigators in probing fraudulent billing.
They should have waited for the government to prove its case before suing.