LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A proposed $15 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by the late Ed Asner and other older performers against the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and its board of trustees, it was announced Monday.
The class-action lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court in December 2020, alleged that the health plan discriminated against older members. As a result of the proposed settlement, the plan agreed to pay $15 million to older performers who lost coverage due to eligibility changes, court papers show.
The settlement must be approved by a federal judge. A preliminary approval hearing before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder is currently set for May 8, but could be moved up to May 1, documents show.
If the settlement is granted preliminary approval, plan participants would have an opportunity to air their views before a final approval hearing.
Asner died in 2021 at the age of 91, but the judge allowed the case to go forward.
Asner's family issued a statement, saying, "This settlement is a great first step in righting a terrible wrong that was done by (SAG-AFTRA) to many of its members. It is now up to the membership of this great union to make sure that members are protected from these kind of actions in the future. As Ed would say, Vote!"
The plaintiffs alleged that the plan had discriminated against "senior performers" by raising the minimum earnings needed to qualify for benefits and excluding residuals from the earnings floor. Nearly 12,000 participants did not meet the new requirements, plaintiffs alleged.
Both sides announced Monday they had reached an "amicable resolution" of the dispute. According to a statement, the plaintiffs' attorneys said the settlement would provide "substantial monetary relief" to participants.
"The Class Participants who brought this complaint, on behalf of performers who were negatively impacted by the 2020 benefit changes, feel this settlement is a beginning to reestablishing trust and benefits," according to the statement.