PHILADELPHIA — Eagleville Hospital has agreed to pay more than $500,000 to settle a class action lawsuit over allegations of unpaid overtime compensation, a federal judge said this month.
"Pursuant to the settlement agreement, [the] defendant will pay a total of $520,000 to resolve this litigation," U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, on the bench in Pennsylvania's Eastern District, said in an order issued on April 19.
The settlement includes $180,500 in damages for class members under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), $127,000 in damages for the 73 members under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), $12,500 in "enhancement awards" to the two named plaintiffs and a precertification opt-in plaintiff, according to the judge’s order. The amount also includes $182,000 in attorney’s fees and $18,000 for the class counsel's out-of-pocket and settlement administration costs.
"In particular, damages to the PMWA class members and FLSA collective members will be distributed such that each of the PMWA members will receive a lump sum of $500, while each of the FLSA collective members will also receive individualized additional damages based on actual weeks worked, hours per week worked and rate of pay during the relevant time period," Rufe said in the opinion.
"In exchange, the settlement class members will release [the] defendant from any and all claims for unpaid wages, overtime or other compensation and all other relief under the FLSA and all other state and local wage/hour and wage payment laws and common law theories arising or accruing prior to the approval date of the parties’ settlement that relate to allegations made in [the] plaintiffs’ Dec. 30, 2015 complaint."
The named plaintiffs in the case, Adrienne Galt and Nancy Murphy, filed the class action suit in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Eagleville Hospital, citing alleged FLSA and PMWA violations. Galt and Murphy are registered nurses who used to work at Eagleville Hospital, according to Rufe's order.
The employees claimed to have routinely worked more than 40 hours per week at Eagleville Hospital, which should have qualified them for overtime pay. However, they allegedly were denied overtime compensation when they were required to work during part or all of their unpaid lunch breaks. The plaintiffs sought the unpaid wages and legal fees.
In October 2016, the plaintiffs "sought conditional certification of an FLSA collective consisting of '[a]ll persons who have worked for [the] defendant as a registered nurse, nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse or mental health technician' during any work week in the previous three years," according to the court's order.
The court granted conditional certification, which prompted 71 employees to file consent forms to join the plaintiffs' FLSA claim, according to Rufe's order.
After a year of document discovery, the parties participated in a mediation session with retired Judge Diane Welsh and signed a settlement agreement in September. The court granted preliminary approval of a modified version of the agreement in December. Notice of the settlement was delivered to 354 class members, and the court held a final approval hearing on April 2.
"[Eagleville Hospital] has denied, and continues to deny, [the] plaintiffs' allegations," Rufe wrote in the order.