PHOENIX, Ariz., July 2, 2007 – LAWFUEL – American Law Newswire …

PHOENIX, Ariz., July 2, 2007 – LAWFUEL – American Law Newswire — Two nurses in Arizona
have brought class action complaints in U.S. District Court against the
Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association and 12 other Arizona
hospital corporations, charging that for years they have conspired to
lower the wages paid to temporary nurses at hospitals throughout
Arizona.

The lawsuits charge that the hospital association — known as AzHHA —
has coordinated the conspiracy by administering a registry program,
used by many hospitals in Arizona, that was originally designed to
improve nursing quality, but was turned into a cartel to depress nurses
wages. AzHHA, with the active support and participation of many Arizona
hospitals, controls much of the market for nursing services, and has
forced nurses to accept low wages.

In May, the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of Arizona sued
AzHHA for illegally conspiring to set the wages of temporary and
traveling nurses. In response to that suit, AzHHA reportedly has agreed
to abandon its anticompetitive practices, but that did not compensate
nurses for the years of lowered wages they suffered. Today’s lawsuits
aim to do just that, by seeking damages for suppressed wages for
nursing services beginning in 1997.

“Temporary nurses have suffered because of this cartel arrangement,”
said David Balto, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys. “In a competitive
market, nurses would have been paid a fair wage for their services.
That did not happen because of the illegal cartel. At a time of a
serious nursing shortage, when wages would be expected to rise, nursing
does seem to defy the laws of supply and demand: wages have remained
flat despite years of shortages.”

Another plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Berger & Montague,
P.C., a nationally recognized class action firm based in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. The firm last year won a $554 million award after a
four-month jury trial in Denver, on behalf of thousands of landowners
whose property was contaminated with plutonium released from the Rocky
Flats nuclear weapons plant. Also representing plaintiffs is the
Phoenix office of Keller Rohrback, P.L.C., also a well-recognized class
action firm based in Seattle.

Other defendants named in the suit are: Arizona Hospital and Healthcare
Association Service Corporation; Banner Health; University Medical
Center Corporation; Carondelet Health Network; John C Lincoln Health
Network; Regional Care Services Corporation; Northern Arizona
Healthcare; TMC Healthcare; Sun Health Corporation; Catholic Healthcare
West; Yuma Regional Medical Center, Inc; Navapache Regional Medical
Center; and Scottsdale Healthcare.

For further information, contact:

David Balto at 202-577-5424; or [email protected]
David F. Sorensen at 215-875-5705 or 1-800-424-6690; or
[email protected]
Mark Samson at 602-248-0088; or [email protected]

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