US Labor Department files lawsuit related to Williamson Memorial Hospital’s health care plan

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday it has filed a lawsuit to restore losses related to a former hospital CEO’s failure to forward contributions to the company’s health care plan.

According to the Department of Labor, Charles Hatfield made “fiduciary breaches” as CEO of the Williamson Memorial Hospital. The hospital filed a bankruptcy petition in October 2019.

An investigation found Hatfield withheld voluntary premium contributions and did not forward payments to cover employees’ medical costs. The investigation focused on a period from July 1, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2019.

“Fiduciaries have a legal obligation to operate employee benefit plans solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries,” said Cristina O’Brien, the acting regional director of the Employee Benefits Security Administration. “We will hold them accountable whenever they fall short of that obligation.”

The filing also calls for Hatfield’s permanent removal as a fiduciary and prohibition from serving as a fiduciary to any Employee Retirement Income Security Act-covered benefit plan.

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