A Baltimore judge Friday afternoon approved a $37 million settlement of two stent class-actions against St. Joseph Medical Center, ending four years of litigation.
“I find this settlement, fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interest of the class,” Judge Sylvester B. Cox said in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs and Catholic Health Initiatives Inc., the former owner of the Towson hospital, reached the settlement at the end of March. Each of the 273 plaintiffs who opt in to the settlement agreement would receive at least approximately $135,000. If less than 60 percent of the class opts in, the remaining funds would go back to Catholic Health, according to the settlement agreement.
The two representative plaintiffs will receive an additional $25,000 each, according to court documents.
“We are grateful to the court for its fairness and tireless work in this case, and we are pleased that it found this historic settlement was indeed in the best interest of the members of this class,” said William H. “Hassan” Murphy, managing partner of Murphy Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore.
The settlement does not include any admission of liability from Catholic Health, St. Joseph and Mark Midei, a former doctor at the hospital who performed many of the stent operations.
“All parties feel the judgment entered today by the court is fair and equitable,” Michael Romano, a spokesman for Catholic Health, said in an email. “The parties reached the settlement … in order to avoid the uncertainties and costs of continued litigation.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs will receive approximately $15 million, or 40 percent of the settlement amount, plus nearly $600,000 in expenses. Lawyers from the Murphy firm and The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos P.C. in Baltimore provided multiple affidavits in support of the settlement and their fees earlier this week as part of the joint motion for approval of the final settlement.
“That was quite interesting reading,” Cox said of the affidavits on attorneys’ fees, singling out one from retired Court of Appeals Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr.
The state-court lawsuit was filed in January 2010. The federal lawsuit, filed in January 2013, was stayed and administratively closed in March in light of the settlement agreement.
The settlement stems from the actions of Midei, who is described in the federal lawsuit as the hospital’s “haloed rainmaker.” (Midei has denied performing unnecessary procedures.) Both lawsuits accused Catholic Health and St. Joseph of collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from the stent procedures.
The settlements do not immediately end all stent litigation, as dozens of individual plaintiffs still have pending claims, according to court records.
Last May, a confidential settlement was reached in a separate medical malpractice case brought against St. Joseph and Midei by 21 plaintiffs in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
The case settled Friday is Fallows v. St. Joseph Medical Center Inc., 24C10000817.