(Montgomery) A hearing was held this morning in Judge Johnny Hardwick’s courtroom in Montgomery in Remington v. Swindle
, also known as the PEEHIP case. In an important ruling to protect AEA members, Judge Hardwick directed from the bench that any premium or surcharge increases collected by PEEHIP that were approved at the April 27 board meeting must be retained in a separate, segregated account. This means that PEEHIP cannot spend this money and that it will be readily available to refund to PEEHIP participants if AEA’s lawsuit is successful on the merits. He made it clear to PEEHIP’s lawyers that these funds belong to the participants of PEEHIP unless and until he rules otherwise.
Judge Hardwick ordered the lawyers for AEA and PEEHIP to work on a schedule to move the case forward. An agreement was reached where the parties will file their next motions on October 21, with responses to those motions due three weeks later. The parties have provided Judge Hardwick with a recommended date for a hearing on those motions in early December. At this time, the judge has not issued a written order to ratify that date. Once a date is set, and update will be sent out to AEA members.
AEA President Sheila Remington said, “Today was an important victory for AEA and our members. While it is unfortunate that the judge will allow the increased deductions from our members paychecks until a final ruling is reached, this ruling protects PEEHIP participants from the risk of a large lump sum payment down the road if the lawsuit is unsuccessful. Our members need to know that AEA was the only organization in the courtroom today and is the only organization involved in this lawsuit. All necessary resources are going into this litigation to protect AEA members. Members of other organizations, who stand to benefit from AEA’s actions, should ask themselves why they belong to those other organizations that have done nothing to stop PEEHIP’s actions.”
The parties will now engage in a brief period of discovery prior to the motion deadline. AEA will continue to update its members every step of the way. As far as what AEA members can do to help, President Remington suggests that they contact the members of the PEEHIP board and urge them to direct their staff to work with AEA to find a satisfactory solution to PEEHIP’s funding issues. Contact information, and up to date information and documentation on the lawsuit, can be found at www.MyAEA.org