Columbus Regional Health System Inc. will pay $2 million to settle an ERISA lawsuit by former participants in a terminated 403(b) plan, attorneys for both sides said in a Jan. 31 notice filed with the U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ga.
The parties reached an agreement in principle in September, which was achieved through mediation. At the time, they didn't provide details of the settlement, which requires court approval.
"Defendant denies all liability with respect to any and all of the claims alleged in the complaint and the amended complaint," said the settlement document in Goodman et al. vs. Columbus Regional Health System Inc.
The former participants sued in February 2021 and later amended their complaint. They accused plan executives of offering higher-priced retail shares of mutual funds instead of cheaper institutional shares. They also contended that executives kept poor-performing investments in the plan lineup and emphasized actively managed funds when similar, cheaper index funds were available.
The plaintiffs were participants in a Columbus 403(b) plan that was terminated May 31, 2019. Columbus Regional Healthcare was acquired by Piedmont Healthcare Inc., Atlanta, in 2018, the original lawsuit said.
Columbus Regional Healthcare System is a wholly owned subsidiary of Piedmont, which is not a defendant. Participants in the former Columbus Regional Healthcare System Retirement Savings Plan are now participants in the Piedmont Columbus Regional Healthcare System Retirement Savings Plan, the original complaint said.