HealthSouth Agrees to $445 Million Settlement

HealthSouth Corp. announced on Wednesday that it will pay $445 million to settle several lawsuits that were filed against the company and some of its former directors after an accounting scandal.

HealthSouth will pay $215 million in common stock and warrants, and its insurance carriers will pay $230 million in cash, the company said. Also, federal securities class-action plaintiffs will get 25 percent of any future judgments obtained by or on behalf of HealthSouth regarding certain claims against fired CEO Richard Scrushy, former auditors Ernst & Young, and the company’s former investment bank, UBS. Each party remains a defendant in the derivative actions and the federal securities class actions.

A judge must approve the settlement, which is nearly the same as a preliminary settlement that was reached in February.

"This settlement represents another significant milestone in HealthSouth's recovery and is a powerful symbol of the progress we have made as a company," said HealthSouth President and CEO Jay Grinney. HealthSouth, the Birmingham, Ala.-based rehabilitation and medical services chain, does not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, nor does any other settling defendant, the company said.

The settlement does not include Ernst & Young, UBS, Scrushy or any former HealthSouth officer who entered a guilty plea or was convicted of a crime in connection with the company's financial reporting activities ending in March 2003.

Scrushy and more than a dozen top executives were accused of recording as much as $2.7 billion in bogus revenues on the company's books over six years. UBS and Ernst & Young have denied knowing about the fraud. Last year, Scrushy was acquitted of all criminal charges in the fraud. He was convicted of conspiracy, bribery and mail fraud charges in a separate government corruption trial.

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