According to the docket, on February 4, 2004, the court gave final approval of the settlement and issued its Order and Final Judgment.
In the Company's SEC 10-Q filing for the quarter ended September 30, 2003, HCA said they reached a preliminary understanding with attorneys representing shareholder groups to settle class action securities lawsuits originally filed in 1997. Under the preliminary understanding, HCA will establish a $49.5 million settlement fund to pay class members based on their individual claims. This settlement is subject to execution of a definitive settlement agreement and approval by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
According to the firm's 10-K filing dated 3/30/2001, on July 28, 2000, the District Court entered an order granting the defendants' motions to dismiss in Morse. The District Court's order dismissed Morse with prejudice. On or about August 10, 2000, plaintiffs filed a motion to alter or amend judgment and for leave to file an amended complaint and requested oral argument on their motion. The plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend was denied in October 2000. On October 18, 2000, plaintiffs filed their Notice of Appeal.
The original complaint alleged that, beginning as early as April 1990, and continuing to the present time, defendants engaged in a massive fraud to inflate Columbia's revenues and earnings of by fraudulently obtaining from the United States and other third-party insurers hundreds of millions of dollars for counseling, therapy, medication, and other therapeutic procedures that were never rendered, unnecessary, inappropriate, billed at inflated rates, or otherwise improper, and for medical devices that were unnecessary or never provided. One of the means by which defendants allegedly defrauded Medicare was through the practice of upcoding, in which hospitals receive larger payments from Medicare by inflating the seriousness of illnesses they treat.