Retirees, pension program members, and interested parties who want to witness the hearing on the settlement deal between Betty Johnson and the government can do so via simultaneous video broadcast on Tinian and Rota.
Set for Monday, Sept. 30, the hearing to approve the settlement deal will be held before U.S. District Court designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood beginning at 9am, in the Horiguchi Building in Garapan.
On Rota, the hearing may be observed by video broadcast at the Northern Marianas College Instructional Site, Room A2. The event can also be witnessed on Tinian at the Instructional Site Room C. Saipan residents may attend the hearing at the District Court itself.
According to the Retirement Fund yesterday, this is being made in response to many requests from Fund members who have been unable to travel to Saipan to observe the proceedings in this lawsuit.
“The hearing will begin promptly at 9am, so community members are encouraged to be at the site 15 minutes earlier to ensure they are properly seated before the beginning of the hearing,” advised the Fund.
After Monday’s hearing, it is expected that a final ruling will be determined on the class suit, including details and timeframe as to when retirees and members’ benefits can be paid by the Fund.
In the closing of deadline on Sept. 20, only 16 members of the pension program opted out of the settlement class.
Both the government and the Fund earlier disclosed that those retirees and active members who will opt out of the settlement class are not entitled to claim benefits from the settlement fund. There is also no guarantee for those retirees who opt out that they would receive at least 75 percent of their pension.
Records from the Fund indicate that there are a total of 3,160 retirees and beneficiaries on three islands. Of this number, retirees total 2,395; surviving spouses number 591; and surviving children total 174.