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Bronson Healthcare Cleared for $3 Million ERISA Settlement

May 18, 2022, 4:01 PM

Michigan-based Bronson Healthcare Group Inc.'s $3 million settlement with workers challenging their retirement plan fees received final federal court approval, as did an award of more than $1 million in fees and costs for their attorneys.

The settlement is slated to benefit a class of 21,528 people covered by Bronson’s $737 million retirement plan. It resolves allegations that the plan carried high administrative fees and offered poorly performing investments.

Judge Hala Y. Jarbou of the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan signed the final approval order Tuesday. In a separate order, she granted the plan participants’ request for $1 million in attorneys’ fees and more than $40,000 in litigation costs.

Bronson was accused of breaching its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to monitor the retirement plan’s administrative fees, which allegedly ballooned to $81 per person, per year. Participants also challenged the plan’s actively-managed target date funds from Fidelity, which they said were riskier and more expensive than a similar suite of passively managed funds from the same company.

Several retirement plan sponsors have been sued under ERISA for offering the actively managed Fidelity Freedom Funds, including MedStar Health Inc., Zachry Holdings Inc., Prime Healthcare Services Inc., Quest Diagnostics Inc., and CommonSpirit Health.

Walcheske & Luzi LLC and Haney Law Office PC represent the Bronson plan participants. Jackson Lewis PC represents Bronson.

The case is Gleason v. Bronson Healthcare Grp., Inc., W.D. Mich., No. 1:21-cv-00379, 5/17/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacklyn Wille in Washington at jwille@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com