One year after the 2020 conference was canceled, the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is paying $ 2.8 million to settle an exhibitor class action lawsuit. A U.S. district judge on Friday gave preliminary approval for the settlement, which includes a $ 2.8 million cash fund from HIMSS and a partial loan for future conferences.
The class action lawsuit was filed in June by HatchMed, a small company that sells medical equipment and beds. Last year, the company paid more than $ 11,000 for exhibition grounds at HIMSS.
HIMSS’s annual conference was canceled in early March, just days before it was due to begin after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Covid-19 was on its way to becoming a pandemic. Days later, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 was a pandemic and the US declared a national emergency.
Initially, HIMSS said there would be no refunds for the canceled conference. A month later, a partial credit was offered that allowed exhibitors to use 15% of their spend on HIMSS 2021 and 10% on HIMSS 2022.
This year it has postponed its conference to August, which will be held with both virtual and personal programming.
Under the terms of the settlement, exhibitors can get back 20% of the amount they paid for the 2020 conference in cash, paid from the settlement fund, as well as 30% credit for this summer’s virtual conference and 10% credit for 2022. Or they can opt for 50% credit for 2021 and 10% credit for 2022.
In an email, Karen Groppe, senior director of strategic communications at HIMSS, confirmed that the company had reached a settlement agreement but declined to comment on the case.
Photo credit: Courtesy Hyatt McCormick