After three years of litigation, on August 15, 2022, class representatives of 11,000 current and former UIHC workers, represented by Rush & Nicholson, reached a tentative settlement on claims for late payment of wages with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The parties reached a tentative agreement to settle all claims for $15 Million for approximately 11,163 employees. This tentative agreement was offered to the presiding federal judge, the Honorable Stephanie Rose of the Southern District of Iowa, for her consideration.
On June 22, 2023, Judge Rose issued a 23-page order giving preliminary approval to all respects of the tentative settlement. In approving the settlement, Judge Rose noted that the lawsuit led to positive changes for UIHC employees beyond the compensation provided. “Specifically, this lawsuit led to the termination of the payment practices in August 2020. This policy change is permanent. The change is a significant benefit to the class.”
Judge Rose also found the proposed settlement agreement treats class members equitably. “A large share of the settlement fund, roughly ninety-four percent, will be paid to members of the Wages Class on a pro rata basis. Under this structure, members will receive a payment ‘correlated to the amounts of adjustments and overtime pay that were paid late and how much each individuals could have recovered in liquidated damages.’ A pro rata distribution of payments to class members based on the scope of their injury results in fair treatment.”
The Court also noted that Rush & Nicholson attorneys took on significant risk in bringing this lawsuit. “They litigated facing ‘a substantial risk… that the recovery would be nothing’ because the ‘only case interpreting the IWPCL’s liquidated damages provision held that liquidated damages were not available… when wages were paid in full, but paid late.’” “This award is more impressive given the aforementioned fact that success appeared unlikely.”
In the coming weeks, class members should expect to receive a Notice of Settlement Agreement in the mail. The Court is expected to set a date in late August for a Final Fairness Hearing on this settlement agreement.