Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2006)LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – …

Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2006)LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., and James & Hoffman, PC today filed four class action lawsuits against major hospitals in Albany, Chicago, Memphis and San Antonio, alleging that these hospitals have conspired to keep their nurses’ wages at artificially low levels. The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in these four cities.

The lawsuits invoke the federal antitrust laws to force the hospitals to pay their nurses compensation that is long overdue. These hospitals have been putting their bottom line ahead of patients and the nurses who care for them. For years, these hospitals have deliberately, secretly and systematically exchanged detailed, non-public, current information about the wages each is paying its nurses. The purpose and effect of this information exchange has been to permit the hospitals to suppress nurse wages – depriving nurses of a fair wage and contributing to the nursing shortage in our nation.

The lawsuits are based on dozens of interviews with insiders with direct knowledge of the conspiracies.

The conspiring hospitals have been taking extreme advantage of a vulnerable but critical component of the American healthcare system. In the aggregate, these hospitals have underpaid nurses in the four cities hundreds of millions of dollars. According to preliminary estimates, in Albany, nurses on average have been underpaid approximately $6,000 per year; in Chicago about $5,000 annually; in San Antonio about $1,300 each year; and in Memphis about $14,000 yearly.

“The hospitals in Albany, Chicago, Memphis, and San Antonio have decided to increase their profits on the backs of their nurses,” said Daniel A. Small, a partner at Cohen Milstein who is representing the plaintiffs in all four cities. “We all know that health care costs are on the rise, but denying a fair wage to the very people with front line responsibility for patient care is not the way to contain these costs. Nurse pay should be set by the market, not by a secret agreement among hospitals.”

Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C (Washington, D.C.) has represented individuals, small businesses, institutional investors, and employees in many of the major class action cases litigated in the U.S. for violations of antitrust, securities, environmental, consumer protection, civil rights/discrimination, ERISA and human rights laws.

James & Hoffman is a Washington, D.C. based law firm with a nationwide litigation practice and a special focus on effective resolution of labor and employment disputes.

Media Inquiries: Deborah Schwartz, Media Relations, Inc., 301-897-8838/240 355-8838

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