To the Editor:
I am writing to thank publicly Representative Joe Shekarchi for sponsoring legislation to allow alleged tortfeasors to settle their liability in the pension cases involving the St. Joseph’s nurses and staff.
I represent pro bono over 250 elderly nurses, bakers, orderlies, and other staff who worked sometimes 40 years or more at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital or Our Lady of Fatima for a paltry pension on the average of $750 per month with no COLA. The lawsuit alleges that the Diocese of Providence for many years knew that the pension was under funded and continued to neglect to fund it properly. There are other defendants whom the law suit alleges violated their duties to the more than 2,700 pensioners as well.
The legislation allows an exception in law where the general rule is that all malefactors are jointly and individually liable. This sometimes impedes an early settlement by some lesser culprits since they would be on the hook for a total judgment. Similar to the legislation used in the 38 Studios and the Station Nightclub fire matters, defendants in this lawsuit can settle and have their liability limited to the amount they pay in settlement.
My clients are deeply grateful to Representative Shekarchi who shepherded this legislation through the General Assembly as well as to Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominic Ruggerio who provided leadership in the passage of this legislation.
Arlene Violet, Esq.