Jones v. Singing River Health Servs. Found., 865 F.3d 285 (5th Cir. July 27, 2017)., reh'g denied (No. 16-60550 (Sept. 6, 2017))

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacates the decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (Louis Guirola, Jr., Chief U.S. District Judge), approving a proposed class action settlement in consolidated lawsuits alleging that Singing River Health System underfunded its self-administered retirement plan when it stopped making actuarial­determined contributions to the Plan in 2009. After proper notice and hearing on plaintiff's motion for preliminary approval of class settlement agreement, the district court conditionally certified the proposed class as a mandatory Rule 23(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P., class. The district court then, after a two-day fairness hearing in May 2016 concluded on June 2, 2016, that the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate and not a product of collusion. The Fifth Circuit vacated the settlement and remanded the matter for consideration of four additional issues having to do with the terms and conditions of the settlement. The court held (865 F.3d at 303) "We do not hold that the settlement should not be approved, or cannot be approved as modified...."