Judge rules for AEA in lawsuit over increased PEEHIP premiums

Updated: Aug. 21, 2017 at 4:27 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A Montgomery County judge has ruled in favor of the Alabama Education Association regarding a lawsuit it filed against the board of the Public Education Employees' Health Insurance Plan, or PEEHIP.

AEA sued, claiming the PEEHIP Board violated the Alabama Open Meetings Act on April 27, 2016, when it approved an increase in premiums and spousal surcharges.

Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled in a 13-page decision that the actions taken in the meeting are invalid.

"Meanwhile," the judge wrote, "the amounts now held in escrow must be distributed by the Defendants back to the PEEHIP members who contributed those amounts."

"We are thankful that Judge Hardwick saw this situation for what it was – a violation of the Open Meetings Act to ram through a premium increase without public discussion or debate," said Sheila Remington, AEA Past President and the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

When reached for comment, PEEHIP officials at the Retirement Systems of Alabama said "PEEHIP respectfully disagrees with the judge's decision in this case. PEEHIP will appeal the decision to the Alabama Supreme Court and move to stay the court's order."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Retirement Systems of Alabama is the primary lender to Raycom Media, the parent company of WSFA 12 News.

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