CHICAGO, IL (September 29, 2009) — McDermott Will & Emery LLP today announced it achieved a significant victory in a federal antitrust wage fixing lawsuit brought by registered nurses against Firm client Resurrection Health Care, a not-for-profit Catholic health care system, and other Chicago-based hospitals and health systems.
The decision in Reed v. Advocate Health Care, et al. is the latest and perhaps most important decision rendered in a string of closely-watched and related nurse wage fixing lawsuit class actions pending in other jurisdictions. Today’s ruling effectively denied class certification to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area violated federal antitrust law by conspiring to suppress the wages of their nurse employees. Other defendants named in the class action are Advocate Health Care, Children’s Memorial Hospital, NorthShore University HealthSystem (formerly known as Evanston Northwestern Healthcare), and University of Chicago Hospitals.
Senior Judge John F. Grady in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois penned the lengthy 52-page decision following four days of class certification hearings on June 1-2 and July 14-15, 2009. In denying the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, Judge Grady applied the standards on expert opinion delineated in the landmark decision handed down earlier this year, In re Hydrogen Peroxide Antitrust Litigation, and held that the opinions of the plaintiffs’ expert were so unreliable as to be “essentially inadmissible.” Judge Grady’s opinion builds upon the Third Circuit’s decision in Hydrogen Peroxide, which requires a “rigorous assessment of the available evidence and the method or methods by which plaintiffs propose to use the evidence to prove impact at trial.”
The McDermott team responsible for this success on Resurrection’s behalf was led by David Marx, Jr. and David L. Hanselman, Jr., partners based in the Chicago office, and also included Stephen Wu, Andrea Hamilton, Amy Carletti, Jennifer Westbrook, Nicole Castle, Christine Devlin and Keri Paley.
According to Mr. Hanselman, who published an article in The National Law Journal earlier this year on Hydrogen Peroxide and was the architect of the defense effort to exclude the testimony of the Reed plaintiffs’ expert, “Under Hydrogen Peroxide, district judges can no longer rubber stamp the opinions of plaintiffs’ experts at the class certification stage. This opinion took a close look at the expert opinions offered by both sides and found that the opinions offered by the plaintiffs’ expert were unreliable.”
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