PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has approved a class settlement in a lawsuit against Optimum Healthcare IT LLC, a health care information technology firm.
The settlement awards nearly $5 million for a gross amount that will be distributed in three installments, according to the opinion. Plaintiffs lawyers will take home one-third of the total amount.
Andrea Arrington, Terry Scott, Lakina Taylor and Jarmond Johnson, on behalf of themselves and the putative class, requested the court’s final approval of a settlement with Optimum Healthcare, the opinion stated. According to the opinion, Optimum provides training and support to medical facilities in connection with the implementation of new electronic recordkeeping systems.
Each of the named plaintiffs were consultants for Optimum who performed training and support services, according to the opinion.
“Plaintiffs allege that they were misclassified as independent contractors when they were in fact employees,” the opinion stated. “As a result, they were denied overtime pay at 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, as required by the FLSA and state laws.”
According to the court, an order on June 8 granted preliminary certification of the settlement class and preliminary approval of the settlement agreement.
The court said the settlement class includes all persons who performed Go-Live consulting work for Optimum in the United States and worked more than 40 hours in any week between Aug. 31, 2014 and Dec. 1, 2017.
The court determined that the proposed settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate to the settlement class.”
“A hearing on the final approval of the proposed settlement was held on Sept. 17,” the opinion stated. “During the hearing, the parties notified the court of certain amendments to the payment terms contained in the settlement agreement.”
According to the opinion, these amendments were necessary to address the declining financial condition of Optimum. The court concluded the proposed changes are fair and the attorneys’ fees as requested by class counsel are also reasonable.
“The proposed settlement agreement provides for a gross settlement amount of $4.9 million,” the opinion stated.
The settlement also awards $1.63 million to class counsel in attorney fees, more than $21,000 in litigation expenses to the class counsel and service payments of $7,500 to each of the named plaintiffs, according to the opinion.
“Each of the ‘eligible class members’ will be paid a settlement award from this net settlement amount,” the opinion stated. “Eligible class members include the named plaintiffs, any opt-in plaintiffs and the settlement class members who have submitted claim forms.”
Based on the number of claims that class counsel has received, they predict that settlement class members who have submitted valid claims forms will receive, on average, $1,487.57, the court said.
In exchange for this amount, the settlement class members, including the named plaintiffs, will provide a release to Optimum that is limited to the alleged claims in the amended complaint, according to the opinion.