Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Former UPMC doctor who sought $200K in back pay settles case

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 4, 2019


PITTSBURGH – A settlement was recently reached in the case of a former physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center seeking well over $200,000 in post-termination back pay.

On July 1, counsel for plaintiff Joseph Bergerson, M.D. filed a praecipe to mark the instant case as settled, discontinued and ended. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Bergerson, of Mars, initially filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 15, 2018, versus UPMC Emergency Medicine, Inc. (doing business as “Emergency Resource Management” and the “University Of Pittsburgh Physicians Center for Community Hospitalist Medicine”), of Pittsburgh.

On Feb. 23, 2014, Bergerson and the defendant entered into an employment agreement for two years, with automatic renewals for successive one-year terms. If one party were to terminate the agreement, they were required to give the other party six months’ written notice, or both parties could mutually terminate it, the suit said.

The suit says Bergerson’s employment agreement was automatically renewed for successive one-year terms on June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, along with a raise – but then, the defendant also allegedly terminated Bergerson on June 30, 2017. At the time, Bergerson’s annual base salary was $216,000.

“Pursuant to the terms of the employment agreement, plaintiff is entitled to payment equal to six months of his base salary, in the amount of $108,000, for the requisite six-month termination notice period, as well as lost incentive salary for the requisite six-month termination notice. During the six-month requisite notification period, plaintiff lost incentive salary of $11,162.46, based upon his 2016-2017 incentive payment of $22,324.92,” the suit said.

During Bergerson’s employment for the 2017 fiscal year, he claims he worked an average of 10 extra shifts per month, resulting in the lost opportunity to work approximately 60 extra shifts during the six-month period following termination of employment. Based on his acceptance rate of shifts during the final six months of his employment, plaintiff lost approximately 720 hours of work and pay, he said.

“Extra hours of work were paid to plaintiff at between $120/hour and $170/hour. Plaintiff demands payment at $150/hour, for 720 hours of lost work opportunity, for an additional $108,000 in damages,” according to the lawsuit.

Prior to settlement and for breach of contract, the plaintiff was seeking damages of $227,162.46, plus costs incurred in connection with collection of said amount, including reasonable attorney’s fees, as determined by the Court, as well as Court costs and interest, as permitted by law.

The plaintiff was represented by Timothy G. Hewitt in Latrobe.

The defendants were represented by Jennifer G. Betts and Ashley R. Hileman of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-18-002241

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County

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