LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – LOS ANGELES, Jan. 16, 2008 – Five former nursing home employees filed a class action complaint in federal court today for damages suffered when their employer, Pleasant Care, retroactively terminated their health care coverage and the coverage of about 5,000 other, similarly-situated employees. Plaintiffs’ counsel, David Vendler of Morris Polich & Purdy LLP, states that one of his clients, a cancer victim, now has over $40,000 in medical expenses that she thought would be covered. She is now being told that these expenses, which she does not have the money to pay, are her responsibility. “Coverage was pulled out from under the plaintiffs like a rug,” Vendler states.
The complaint alleges that, during the time the much maligned Pleasant
Care facilities were being operated by the Tutera Group (a Kansas City
management company that was retained by Pleasant Care’s creditors to
run the facilities after Pleasant Care filed for bankruptcy), Tutera
was specifically advised that their plan to retroactively terminate
employees’ health benefits was illegal. Nonetheless, the Tutera Group
went forward, knowingly putting the interests of Pleasant Care’s
banking creditors (that hired the Tutera Group) first, while putting
the interests of Pleasant Care’s employees last by willfully concealing
that payments of all health care benefits (as well as accrued vacation
pay) would stop as soon as the various nursing home facilities could be
auctioned off (for the benefit of the creditors) by the Tutera Group.
The employees also received no COBRA benefits.
The complaint also alleges that Tutera’s lack of honesty with the
Pleasant Care employees was vital to its plan to maximize the return
for the creditors that hired the Tutera Group. Tutera knew that the
nursing home facilities were significantly more valuable if they could
be sold as operating businesses, so if the employees had been told up
front that they would not be receiving their benefits, there was a
danger that they would look for other jobs, thereby leaving the
facilities unable to function and making them much less valuable.
“This is just one more outrageous example,” Vendler states, “of big
corporations maximizing profit by grinding away at the rights of the
helpless. The only thing the plaintiffs did wrong in this case was that
they went to work. Now, and because of what was done to them, many are
facing potential bankruptcy because of the thousands of dollars in
unpaid medical expenses they were told would be covered by their
medical plan. They now also face substantial difficulties in obtaining
other medical coverage because of preexisting conditions and the gap
that was created in their coverage history.”
Also named in the suit are the two leading secured creditors of
Pleasant Care which the complaint alleges knowingly participated in the
Morris Polich & Purdy LLP is a litigation firm that serves as local,
regional, and national counsel for small to Fortune 500 companies. The
Firm is dedicated to delivering superior performance for every client,
partnering with them to meet their legal and business goals.
More information on this and other class actions can be found on the
Class Action Newsline at www.primenewswire.com/ca.
CONTACT: Morris Polich & Purdy LLP
David Vendler, Esq., Attorney at Law