Avondale Care Group
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Getman, Sweeney & Dunn and Bohrer Brady, LLC represent the Named Plaintiff in a lawsuit against Avondale Care Group (Avondale) for alleged violations of Federal and state overtime laws, titled Severino v. Avondale Care Group, LLC, 1:21 Civ. 10720 (S.D.N.Y.). This case was filed as a putative collective and class action lawsuit. At a later date the Court will decide if the case will continue as a collective or class action lawsuit. Until that time, as explained below, you can file a consent to sue form to join the action and preserve your unpaid overtime wage claims.
Plaintiff alleges that Avondale failed to pay her and other Home Health Aides overtime as required by state and federal law. In her Complaint, she has asserted claims on behalf of herself and other Home Health Aides for: 1) unpaid overtime wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages; 2) unpaid spread of hours wages; and 3) wage statement violations. You can view the Complaint here.
If you worked for Avondale as a live-in Home Health Aide in the last 6 years, worked 24-hour shifts, and were not paid adequate compensation for your sleep and meal periods during your shifts (in that you were paid for only 13 hours of a 24-hour shift for shifts where you did not receive 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep and 3 hours of meal breaks), then you can join this case to recover back wages and liquidated damages. To have your federal overtime wage claims included in the case, you must file a consent to sue through Plaintiff’s counsel Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, or you may retain your own counsel. You can fill out a Consent to Sue form and return it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn. We will file it on your behalf. You can find a Consent to Sue form here. If you join the lawsuit, you may be required to participate in discovery by providing documentary evidence and testimony. Getman, Sweeney & Dunn is working with attorneys at Bohrer Brady, LLC in pursuing these unpaid wage claims on behalf of the Named Plaintiff and other similarly situated Home Health Aides.
How to Join this Case
You can join this case by completing this online Consent to Sue form or by printing this Consent to Sue Form. and mailing it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn. You need the free Acrobat Reader installed to view the form. You may also retain your own counsel.
On October 29, 2022, Judge Stewart D. Aaron allowed Plaintiffs to send notice to potential class members explaining their rights to join the case. Any current or former Avondale home health aide who worked at least two live-in 24-hour shifts in a workweek at any time from December 15, 2015 to the present is eligible to join the case and should receive a Notice. This excludes HHAs who are represented by other counsel or have resolved their claims with Avondale. In order to join the case, eligible home health aides must fill out and return a Consent to Sue form by April 14, 2023.
On November 7, 2022, both sides agreed to mediate this dispute with the hope of settling the case. On January 31, 2023, both sides met with mediator Stephen Sonnenberg. Unfortunately, after a full day of and additional subsequent discussions with Avondale’s lawyers through the mediator, we were not able to come to an agreement to settle any of the claims. This means there will be no settlement at this time and the case will be moving forward in litigation.
While the mediation was pending, notice to every Avondale home health aide eligible to join the lawsuit was placed on hold, pursuant to a court-approved agreement between the parties. The statute of limitations under Fair Labor Standards Act has been tolled from October 29, 2022 until the date notice is issued (this means that Plaintiffs will not be losing their claims for wages between October 29, 2022 until the date of notice if the lawsuit will be successful eventually). If you are eligible to join the case (please see below for the class definition and eligibility), you can still file a consent to sue form and join the lawsuit.
Court Grants Conditional Certification!
On October 29, 2022 the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to conditionally certify a Collective Action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (this means that the Avondale home health aides who opted-into the lawsuit can move ahead as a group). Plaintiffs can issue notice to all of the Avondale home health aides who are eligible to join the case.
Answers to Common Questions - Posted December 15, 2021
What claims are covered in this case?
The case covers claims for overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and under New York State labor law. The specific violations claimed are that Avondale failed to pay overtime wages for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek to its Home Health Aides. This includes time worked through meal breaks and sleep breaks if you did not receive 8 hours of sleep, 5 of which were uninterrupted and 3 hours of meals during a shift. Additionally, it is claimed that Avondale failed to pay its Home Health Aides spread of hours pay required under NY state law for shifts worked more than 10 hours. Finally, it is also claimed that the pay statements provided by Avondale did not include the accurate number of hours worked, in violation of NY law. Avondale disputes these allegations. The Court has not made any determination as to liability.
What damages are sought?
Damages sought under the FLSA include back overtime wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages, interest, and fees and costs for each violation. The FLSA provides for liquidated damages in an amount equal to the back pay owed and allows claims going back two or three years from when someone affirmatively joins the case by filing a Consent to Sue.
Damages sought under the New York Labor law include back overtime wages, an additional hour of pay at the minimum wage for each shift worked greater than 10 hours, an equal amount of liquidated damages, interest, and fees and costs for each violation. And up to $5,000 in damages for the pay statement violations.
How far back can claims be made?
Generally, under the FLSA, you are entitled to make claims for the period extending back two or three years from the date your Consent To Sue Form is filed with the court. Defendant will be entitled to argue that any alleged violations were not willful and that claims should only be limited to a two-year period preceding the filing of your Consent to Sue. This two or three year period is called the “statute of limitations.”
Claims under the New York State Labor law go back six years from the filing of the complaint.
How do I join the case?
If you choose to join this collective action, you can do so by completing a Consent to Sue and sending it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn for filing. You may also retain your own attorney.
Do I have to pay to join the case?
Getman, Sweeney & Dunn, PLLC and Bohrer Brady, LLC. are handling this case on a contingent basis and will only be paid if we win through a settlement or final judgment.
Can I wait to file my Consent to Sue form?
You are not part of the FLSA case until your Consent to Sue is filed. If you delay in filing the Consent to Sue or do not bring your own case, part or your entire claim may be barred by the statute of limitations. You can complete this Consent to Sue and send it to Getman, Sweeney & Dunn for filing.
Can the Defendant fire me or take action against me for joining the case?
The law prohibits retaliation for joining an overtime lawsuit. If any employee suffers retaliation, Defendant would be liable for damages. At least double the injury caused to the employee, and possibly much more. Notify an attorney immediately if you think any retaliation occurs. Retaliation is rare in overtime cases because an employer can incur damages, including back wages, liquidated damages, and punitive damages.
What locations are covered by this lawsuit?
The FLSA claims in this lawsuit cover every worksite nationwide in the U.S.A. If you worked for Defendant anywhere in the country, you can bring FLSA claims in this case. The New York State Labor Law claims cover only work performed in New York.
Fill out this form if you would like someone from GSD to contact you to provide more information. Please note that if you would like to join the lawsuit, you must fill out the "Consent to Sue" form linked in the "How to Join this Case" section.