MILWAUKEE — Verona, Wisconsin-based electronic health records systems company Epic Systems appears poised to settle at least one class action unpaid overtime lawsuit with a group of technical writers claiming the defendant vastly underpaid many employees. Both sides submitted motions to dismiss the case on the grounds the two parties reached a settlement in the matter but the federal judge overseeing the case asked for more information regarding the proposed resolution.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, claims that the defendant failed to pay hundreds of its technical writers overtime wages and even went as far as to force the affected workers to rescind some of their legal rights to sue. In May 2016, a federal Court of Appeals struck down Epic’s assertion the claimants waived their right to sue when the defendant forced the workers to waive these rights as a condition of continued employment.
In his response, the judge asked for clarification on how the case was settled, what methods were utilized to calculate the award for each plaintiff, and what amount of money the plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive for their work. The judge gave the parties until January 24, 2017 to submit the additional information, citing the “dismissal provides no basis for assessing the fairness of the settlement” since the suit was certified a class action.
As is typical with suits of this magnitude, courts must ensure any proposed resolution is fair to both parties and adequately compensates claimants as these plaintiffs may have no other legal recourse once finalized. Should the judge be unsatisfied with the agreement, he may deny the motion to dismiss and send the two-sides back to the negotiating table to rework a better deal.
Epic also faces two other class action unpaid overtime lawsuits. One filed by a quality assurance worker on behalf of himself and other similarly affected workers alleging they were misclassified as overtime exempt workers by the defendant.
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