Ingram v. Health Management Associates Inc. et al

Filing 58

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION recommending that the District Court appoint an Interim Lead Counsel Committee, with the Committee being composed of the following: Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP as the Interim Lead Counsel Committee Chair; Schatz Nobel Izard, PC and Keller Rohrback L.L.P. as Interim Lead Counsel Committee members; and Barker, Rodems & Cook, P.A. as Interim Liaison Counsel, for the Plaintiffs in this action. Signed by Magistrate Judge Douglas N. Frazier on 5/20/2009. (brh)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA FT. MYERS DIVISION HERBERT INGRAM, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated,, Plaintiff, -vsHEALTH MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC., WILLIAM J. SCHOEN, JOSEPH V. VUMBACCO, and ROBERT E. FARNHAM,, Defendants. ______________________________________ R E P O R T AND RECOMMENDATION TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT Case No. 2:07-cv-529-FtM-99DNF In this action, the Plaintiffs assert claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a). This action was consolidated with three other actions. The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA in connection with the continued offering of HMA stock as an investment option in the Health Management Associates, Inc. Retirement Savings Plan. On May 14, 2008, the Honorable Marcia Morales Howard, United States District Judge entered an Order (Doc. 32) denying without prejudice the Plaintiffs' Motion to Appoint an Interim Lead Counsel Committee and an Interim Liaison Counsel (Doc. 23), but required the Plaintiffs to file a memorandum "explaining why the appointment of an Interim Lead Counsel Committee is appropriate in the instant case." On May 30, 2008, the Plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Brief in Support of Motion to Appoint Interim Lead Counsel Committee (Doc. 33), and on June 6, -1- 2008, the Defendants filed a Partial Opposition to Plaintiffs' Supplemental Brief in Support of Motion to Appoint Interim Lead Counsel Committee (Doc. 34). No motions remained pending as to this issue, and this issue of appointment of an interim lead counsel committee was never determined. On May 5, 2009, the Honorable Anne C. Conway, Chief United States District Judge referred all motions for rulings or Report and Recommendations to this Court. (Doc. 51). The Court held a telephone hearing on May 19, 2009, to determine the status of the case, and to resolve the issue regarding appointment of an interim lead counsel committee. The Plaintiffs assert that the proposed class of Health Management Associates, Inc. Retirement Savings Plan participants will be served best by the appointment of an Interim Lead Counsel Committee, with the Committee being composed of the following: Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP as the Interim Lead Counsel Committee Chair; Schatz Nobel Izard, PC and Keller Rohrback L.L.P. as Interim Lead Counsel Committee members; and Barker, Rodems & Cook, P.A. as Interim Liaison Counsel. The Plaintiffs contend that these firms have worked together effectively and efficiently in the past and achieved outstanding results. The Plaintiffs anticipate that this case will involve millions of pages of documents and that it will be costly and labor-intensive. The Plaintiffs assure the Court that the appointment of an interim lead counsel committee will not increase the amount of attorneys' fees. The Plaintiffs' counsel offered to provide quarterly reports as to the work done in the case. The Plaintiffs also assert that the Interim Liaison Counsel is located in the Middle District of Florida and counsel is a member of the bar of this Court. The Defendants do not oppose the appointment of the Committee and Liaison Counsel. (See, Doc. 34, p. 1). The only portion of the Plaintiffs Supplemental filing that they object to is the Plaintiffs providing quarterly reports detailing the work done in the litigation. The Court agrees with the Defendants that there is no need for the -2- quarterly reporting at this point in the litigation, and if a need should arise, the Court will order it later in the litigation. The Court finds that an interim lead counsel committee would be an effective and efficient method of conducting the representation for the Plaintiffs in this case. The Plaintiffs' counsel will be able to handle the massive amount of discovery in the case, and appointing the committee will allow this case to progress in an efficient manner. IT IS RESPECTFULLY RECOMMENDED: That the District Court appoint an Interim Lead Counsel Committee, with the Committee being composed of the following: Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP as the Interim Lead Counsel Committee Chair; Schatz Nobel Izard, PC and Keller Rohrback L.L.P. as Interim Lead Counsel Committee members; and Barker, Rodems & Cook, P.A. as Interim Liaison Counsel, for the Plaintiffs in this action. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations contained in this report within ten (10) days from the date of its filing shall bar an aggrieved party from attacking the factual findings on appeal. Respectfully recommended in Chambers in Ft. Myers, Florida this 2009. 20th day of May, Copies: All Parties of Record -3-

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