Fighting for Fair Pay

Alert Ambulette Service Corp. and Mark Hanukov

This case is brought by four former ambulette drivers for Alert Ambulette in Brooklyn, New York who were scheduled to work 12 hours per day for defendants, but often worked 14 or more hours per day. They worked five to six days per week. The case charges that Defendants only pay their driver employees a day rate for their work, which can be as little as $80 per day. Defendants fail to pay drivers all the wages which they are owed, insofar as they fail to pay overtime premium pay, minimum wage, or spread of hours pay, as required by federal and state law. Defendants also make various unlawful deductions from the Plaintiffs wages, including regular deductions to establish a performance guarantee when employees begin working for Defendants. Plaintiffs seek unpaid wages, liquidated damages, interest, costs and attorneys’ fees, as well as declaratory relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state minimum wage and wage payment laws. Plaintiffs bring FLSA claims individually and on behalf of other similarly situated employees (who worked for Alert within the last three years) under the collective action provisions of the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. 216(b). Plaintiffs bring their state claims individually and under the class action rules of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 23 for Alert Ambulette drivers who worked within the last six years.

The case is pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and will be tried to the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack is also assigned to the case.

How to Join this Case

If you have also worked for this defendant you can join this case by completing this Consent to Sue form and mailing it to Getman Sweeney. You need the free Acrobat Reader installed to view the form.

Consent to Sue Form – pdf (8 KB)

Status Reports

Court Grants Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment – Posted on September 24, 2012

On May 7, 2012, U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein granted Plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for summary judgment and Plaintiffs were awarded a money judgment of $842,379.00. Click here to read the Court’s award of Judgment. Since then, Getman & Sweeney have been working hard to enforce and collect the judgment. Restraining notices (which prevent the sale or transfer of Defendants’ assets) and informational subpoenas (which request information about the nature and location of Defendants’ assets) have been sent to Defendants and other persons and entities that have Defendants’ assets or have information about Defendants’ assets. Getman & Sweeney will continue all efforts to enforce and collect the judgment against Defendants.

Alert Ambulette Gives In – Posted on May 2, 2012

Alert Ambulette, Hanukov Bus Co., and Mark Hanukov have now conceded that summary judgment should be entered against them in the amount sought by Plaintiffs in the case — $842,379. Click here to read defendants’ concession on the motion. On the other hand, Defendants oppose the Plaintiffs’ recently filed motion seeking to attach the assets of the Defendants before judgment is entered. At this point, now that Defendants have conceded that the Plaintiffs claims are valid, the case is moving into the realm of “collections.”

Motions Filed – Posted on April 9, 2012

Getman Sweeney has been busy pursuing the defendants to move this case forward. On March 15, 2012, attorneys Dan Getman and Lesley Tse took a deposition of Mark Hanukov. Hanukov responded by asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself to almost every question that was posed. Click here to read the transcript. By law, Hanukov’s assertion of the Fifth Amendment can be taken by the Court as an inference in favor of Plaintiffs’ position. As a result, Plaintiffs have now moved the Court to award us summary judgment. Summary judgment is a process where the Court can issue a final ruling on the case without the need for a trial. Click here to read the Plaintiffs’ Summary Judgment brief. This motion has been directed to U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein. In addition, Plaintiffs filed a motion with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack, asking her for permission to restrain all the current assets of defendants Hanukov, Alert Ambulette and Jacob Hanukov Bus Company so that they cannot be moved or transferred to others. Click here to read the Plaintiffs’ Brief seeking to attach the Defendants’ assets.

Class Notice Mailed – Posted on January 31, 2011

The Defendants agreed to class certification and the Court has directed that a Notice be sent to all drivers who are eligible to join the case. Drivers have 60 days from the date of the Notice to join the federal claims in this case, or to withdraw from the class action part of the case. If you are driver who did not receive a Notice, please contact Getman Sweeney to get your copy of the Notice. If you received a Notice and have any questions about how to join the case, or how to not join the case, please call Getman Sweeney at 845-255-9370 and ask to speak with Monica.

Motion to Certify a Class Action – Posted on October 20, 2011

The Plaintiffs have moved for Class Certification which is a process by which the case is allowed to proceed as a class action. This will allow the Plaintiffs to send a notice to all class members telling them about the case.

Court Conference – Posted on March 3 2011

The initial Court conference in this case is scheduled before the Honorable Joan Azrack on March 30, 2011.

FAQs – Posted on February 4 2011

Answers to Common Questions:

What claims are covered in this lawsuit?

The lawsuit covers claims for overtime and minimum wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. The case charges the defendants with making unlawful deductions and failing to pay an extra hour when the work “spread of hours” exceeded ten in a day.

What damages are sought?

Under the overtime and minimum wage law, back pay and an equal amount of liquidated damages are claimed for each violation. Plaintiffs also seek back pay, prejudgment interest and liquidated damages of 25% for the unlawful deductions and an extra hour of pay at the minimum wage rate for the spread of hours violation.

How far back can claims be made?

New York State minimum wage and overtime claims are brought covering the period six years prior to the date the complaint was filed. Under the FLSA, Alert Ambulette employees are entitled to make claims for the period extending back three years from the date your Consent To Sue Form is filed in Court. The defendant will be entitled to argue that its violations were not willful and that it claims should only be limited to a two year period preceding the filing of your Consent To Sue Form. These two to six year periods are called the “statute of limitation.”

Do I have to pay to join the case?

No. The attorneys are handling this case on a contingent 1/3 basis and will only be paid when we win through a settlement or final judgment. However, when plaintiffs win an overtime or minimum wage case, the defendant must pay the plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys fees.

Can I wait to file my Consent To Sue Form?

You are not part of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act case until your Consent to Sue Form is returned to the plaintiffs’ attorneys and then filed with the Court. If you delay in filing the Consent to Sue Form, part or all of your FLSA claim may be barred by the “statute of limitation.” Once a Notice is authorized by the Court, you must generally return the Consent to Sue form within the terms of the notice or the Court may not allow you to join this case.

Can the Defendant fire me or take action against me for joining the lawsuit?

The law prohibits retaliation for joining an overtime lawsuit. If any employee suffered retaliation, The Defendant would be liable for double the injury caused to the employee. Notify us immediately if you think any retaliation occurs. Retaliation is extremely rare in FLSA cases, because an employer can suffer such serious penalties.

What locations are covered by this lawsuit?

The lawsuit covers workers who worked out of the Brooklyn, New York offices of Alert Ambulette.

Posted on Friday, February 4 2011 at 4:04pm

The document which begins a federal lawsuit is called the “complaint.” Click here to review the complaint in this case. (Complaint.pdf 470KB)

Case Inquiry

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