Proposed Blind Pension Settlement Agreement
On Oct. 6, 2017 the Cole County Circuit Court entered a judgment finding that individuals who received a blind pension between February 1, 2001 and June 30, 2010 did not receive the full amount of the pension that they were entitled to receive, and that members of that class who did not opt out are entitled to a monetary award. Since this judgment, the parties were able to reach an agreement to establish a fund to compensate those affected.
About the Lawsuit
- The class of blind pensioners who received a blind pension payment between February 1, 2001, and June 30, 2010, sued the Department of Social Services in 2006.
- The trial court entered a final judgment on October 6, 2017, awarding $26,312,279 (including prejudgment and post-judgment interest) in cause number 06AC-CC00123-03 in Division 4 of the Cole County Circuit Court.
- The trial court judgment was appealed on October 30, 2017, which is the fifth appeal taken in this case since 2006. The October 30, 2017 appeal is pending as cause number WD81188 in the Western District Court of Appeals.
About the Proposed Settlement
- The attorneys for the class, in consultation with the representative plaintiffs and the Missouri Council of the Blind, and the attorneys for the Department have negotiated a settlement pursuant to which the Department will make available $21,000,000 from a settlement fund.
- The settlement fund will include $11,478,681 to compensate eligible blind pensioners for underpayment of the pension benefit plus an additional $9,521,319 to compensate them for interest on those underpayments.
- This settlement resolves all issues, the pending appeal, the possibility of a loss and/or another trial court hearing and has the approval of class attorneys, class representatives and defense attorney and will allow the Department to begin the claims payment process.
A hearing on the motion to approve this settlement will take place on March 30, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. in the Division 4 Courtroom at the Cole County Courthouse (301 E High St.) in Jefferson City.
The attorneys for the class and attorneys for the state will both be asking the court to approve the settlement. If the court approves the settlement, then the Claims Process Order will be initiated as amended by the settlement order entered by the court.
If you object to the proposed settlement, you or your individual attorney may file your objection with Division 4 of the Cole County Circuit Court at least 10 days prior to the hearing. You may also appear at the hearing if you wish (individually and/or by counsel) and argue against the settlement. If you do nothing, then your interests will be represented by the class attorneys who will ask for an order approving the settlement.
The order entered as a result of this hearing will be made available as soon as practical.
If you have questions, you may contact the attorneys for the class: the Greider Law Firm, 314-727-8910, or the Saint Louis University Legal Clinic, 314-977-2778.