Detroit Nurse Wages

Cason-Merenda et al. v. Detroit Medical Center et al. 
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Case No. 06-15601

Case Overview

Keller Rohrback is acting as co-lead counsel in this matter proceeding before Chief Judge Gerald Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs’ Third Corrected Class Action Complaint alleges a conspiracy by eight hospitals in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (“Detroit MSA”) to depress the compensation levels of Registered Nurses (“RNs”) employed at the conspiring hospitals.

 

Case Status

Final Settlement

On January 27, 2017, Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted approval to a settlement reached with the last remaining defendant in this litigation, Detroit Medical Center (which will henceforth be referred to as “DMC”). This last settlement pays $42,000,000 to the Class, and resolves all claims in this case which alleged a conspiracy to suppress nurse compensation among eight Detroit area hospitals and is described in more detail in the Complaint attached below.

Note that all funds associated with any previous settlements in this case have already been fully distributed.

Details of the claims process for this Settlement can be found on the website www.Detroitnursewages.com.

The Class is defined as:

All registered nurses who provided direct patient care in short term acute care facilities, exclusive of supervisory, managerial and advanced practice nurses, and who were employed by Defendants within the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (“Detroit MSA”) at any time from December 12, 2002 through December 12, 2006.

Specifically, certain job titles at the defendant hospitals have been identified as comprising the Class. It is important to understand that not all RNs employed by a Defendant are part of the Class. If your job title indicates you had any managerial, supervisory, or training duties, then you are not a member of the Class because you were paid as a manager or supervisor or preceptor, and how your pay was determined is what determines class status. If you did not work at a hospital facility then you are not a member of the Class. To determine if you are a member of the Class whose claims are resolved by this Settlement, please consult the document below which lists all job titles that comprise the Class. If you worked at one of these hospitals in a position other than one listed on this document you are not a member of the Class and are not entitled to share in any monies available through this settlement.

 

Finalized Settlements

The Court previously approved settlements with seven defendants, St. John Health, Oakwood Healthcare Corp., Bon Secours Cottage Health Services, Mount Clemens General Hospital, William Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Health System, and Trinity Health Corp. These settlements collected over $48 million for Detroit hospital staff nurses. In addition, the Oakwood Settlement requires that Oakwood not engage in certain exchanges of information concerning current and prospective nurse compensation. All funds from these settlements have been distributed to class members.

 

The Litigation

On September 13, 2013, Judge Rosen certified a class of staff nurses who worked at the eight defendant hospitals. Judge Rosen affirmed that decision in a subsequent Order issued on March 2, 2014. On February 3, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied VHS’s motion seeking leave to appeal that Order, and on April 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit declined to grant an en banc review of that decision, with no Judge calling for a vote. This means that Ms. Cason-Merenda and Mr. Suhre have been authorized by the Court to represent the claims of Detroit area nurses in this litigation so members of this class can have their claims pursued without the need of any individual action by those nurses. A copy of Judge Rosen’s two decisions and the decision of the Court of Appeals are available below. A Court-approved Notice of Class Action will be sent to the class describing your rights and these matters in more detail.

Judge Rosen also denied three separate Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants as to Plaintiffs’ claim for a violation of the Sherman Act subject to the Rule of Reason while dismissing one aspect of Plaintiffs’ antitrust claim that is subject to per se treatment. A copy of that Order, which has been published as 862 F. Supp. 2d 603, is available below.

The Court also denied Defendants’ motion to exclude the testimony of Professor Orley Ashenfelter, Professor of Economics at Princeton University who would have testified for Plaintiffs at trial regarding the impact of the conspiracy on Detroit nurses, as well as providing an estimate of the damages suffered by those nurses. A copy of this decision is available below.

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