News

June 5, 2014

Rekhter v. DSHS – Victory in nearly $90M Class Action

WA Supreme Court DENIES State’s Motion for Reconsideration

The Washington Supreme Court today denied the State of Washington’s motion to reconsider its ruling in favor of the Class Plaintiffs on their $57 million jury verdict with post-judgment interest. The judgment of roughly $90 million will stand.

Once finalized, the case will be returned to Thurston County Superior Court for final work to be completed on payment and the payment process that will be ordered by the court. The Court will determine the most appropriate way to make sure that the Class Members know about the result and the manner in which money will be distributed to the Class Members.

Please check in frequently here on the website for updated details as we move towards completion of this process.

Read the order from the Supreme Court here

This case is about in-home care providers who lost out on benefits promised them by WA DSHS.  In 2010, the case went to trial and the jury awarded the plaintiffs over $57,000,000.  After a lengthy appeals process, the total award with post-judgment interest will be nearly $90,000,000.

April 4, 2014

Supreme Court Upholds $57M Verdict for Home-Care Workers

Our case against DSHS, Rekhter, et al. v. DSHS, et al. was won at trial in December 2010, with a jury verdict of over $57,000,000.  The State appealed that verdict to the State Supreme Court, and oral arguments were heard in May 2013.  After a long wait, the decision came back from the State’s highest court.  While the Supreme Court overturned an award of pre-judgment interest of over $39M, they upheld the verdict of over $57M and allowed post-judgment interest, bringing the total to over $80M.  The local news media covered the Supreme Court ruling at length.  We’ve linked to the articles below.  Find out more information about the case at our website, www.dshslawsuit.com

Rekhter v. DSHS News Coverage

December 2, 2011

$95 million to in-home care provider class action members

Today, Judge Thomas McPhee awarded more than $95 million to our in-home care providers in the class action case of Rekhter v. State of Washington.  In his ruling, Judge McPhee affirmed the original $57 million verdict from a Thurston County jury delivered back in February, and then added an additional $38 million in interest covering the 5-year timeframe when DSHS in-home care providers’ compensation was unlawfully cut by the State.

DSHS now has 30 days to appeal the final judgments (January 3).  Based upon its prior actions, we anticipate DSHS will appeal straight to Washington’s Supreme Court.  That process could take anywhere from a year and a half to two years or more.  Washington’s Supreme Court tries to get opinions out within about 18 months from the date of an appeal (on average), but, in reality, they have as long as necessary to get their opinions out.  Being a large case and public funds involved, the Justices could take their time with the appellate review.  In the meantime, the judgment will collect 12% in interest, amount to roughly $30,000 per day on the total amount of the judgment.  We will keep you posted as developments unfold.

We at PCVA are very proud to represent all of you.  Your patience through this long and sometimes difficult process has been greatly appreciated.  If you have any further problems with DSHS, the State of Washington or if you have any other legal matter where you feel your rights have been violated, please give us a call.

Read the 2011-12-02 FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Read the 2011-11-02 AMENDED FINAL JUDGMENT ON JURY VERDICT – PROVIDER CLASS
Read the 2011-12-02 FINAL JUDGMENT – CLIENT CLASS

News updates

Seattle Times: Judge: DSHS owes $96 million to caregivers

 

 

July 26, 2011

DSHS In-Home Care Provider Class Action – Update

Recently, on July 1, 2011, Judge McPhee ruled in our favor and awarded pre and post-judgment interest to the class.  What does this mean?  Our accountant expert has calculated prejudgment interest on the Jury’s verdict at over $30 million dollars (a preliminary estimate).  This would be added to the Jury’s verdict.  Therefore, we believe that the total judgment now likely exceeds $90 million.  In addition, post-judgment interest at a rate of 12% per annum will be applied to the judgment on a going forward basis.  This could be up to $900K per month in post-judgment interest (another preliminary estimate).

What happens next?  Judge McPhee will prepare his Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law (“FFCL”) on the Beneficiary Class claim.  Both sides have submitted their proposed FFCL to Judge McPhee for review.

We really appreciate your continued patience with the process.  As complex and as important as this case is to everyone involved, the process moves very deliberately and probably frustratingly slow for many of you.  Based upon the Court’s scheduling, it may take another six months before final judgment is entered.  As judge McPhee indicated at an earlier hearing, he is taking a very careful and deliberate approach because the case involves the public’s money.  Rest assured, however, that we are doing everything possible to try and push everything to final resolution as quickly as possible.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call or email me.

Darrell L. Cochran is a Tacoma attorney who specializes in Government Liability claims.  Contact us today to discuss your potential case and schedule a free consultation.

April 25, 2011

Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala case Ranked 35th of Top 100 Verdicts of 2010, Nationally by VerdictSearch.com

The verdict for class plaintiffs in Rekhter v DSHS was for $57,123,795 and ranked 35th of VerdictSearch’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2010. See the complete list below:
[scribd id=50051346 key=key-2mv66b0zqqd6f9i19r9l mode=list]

February 14, 2011

Rekhter v DSHS Mediation Update

As many of you may have read in an earlier posting, the State asked us to discuss settlement with them on February 9th and 10th in a formal process in front of a retired judge called “mediation”.  We agreed to mediate the case and participated in good faith but, after two solid days of talks, the parties could not reach an agreement.  Our goal is to protect the verdict for all of you and balance the risk of potential appellate court review of the trial court decisions and, ultimately, we felt the State’s position discounted the verdict and trial court decisions too heavily.

The next step for us happens this Friday, February 18th, when we enter judgment against the State for the $57 million verdict.  This starts the process for the State’s deadline to appeal and also starts the clock running on the interest on the verdict.  We will provide an update after that hearing on Friday.

See more stories related to Rekhter v DSHS Class Action

February 8, 2011

Rekhter v DSHS Class Action Mediation Feb. 9-10, 2011

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) approached  the class representative and class counsel several weeks ago and asked us to consider a settlement of the case before it files its appeal of the jury verdict and court decisions.  W know that the class members have waited a long time for justice in this case.  We want to make sure we get the best outcome for our clients.  We want to explore any and all options to do so.   We believe it is in the best interests of the class to explore whether the State has a reasonable offer at this time because the appeals process can take anywhere from a year and a half to three years before we learn whether the court system will allow us to recover the back wages owed in this case.

With that in mind, tomorrow and Thursday the lead attorneys and class representatives in the Rekhter v. DSHS class action lawsuit will be engaging with DSHS in a process known as mediation.  Mediation is an attempt to come to a settlement agreement led by a neutral third-party, called the mediator.  In mediation, both sides present proposals for a fair settlement.  The mediator shuttles back and forth between the parties in order to bridge the gap between the alternate proposals.  In this case, the mediator is a retired superior court judge.  The process takes some time; this mediation is scheduled for two days.  The mediator’s job is to bring the parties together.  If a settlement is reached, the class will receive formal notice by mail and publication.  However, if the parties fail to reach an agreement, the appeal process would continue as planned.

Please continue to visit our web site for additional updates with regard to this class action.  We will post updates regarding any significant developments in the case.

See more posts about the Rekhter v DSHS Class Action Lawsuit

January 28, 2011

Rekhter v DSHS Class Action FAQs

Rekhter v. DSHS Class Action Lawsuit

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) What happened in the trial?
A) The case went to trial on November 29, 2010.  It took 3 weeks to try the case, and on December 21, 2010, the jury came back with a $57,000,000 verdict for the class of 22,000 plaintiffs.  The jury found that DSHS broke its contract with the care providers by failing to honor its duty of good faith and fair dealing.

Q) Does that mean the lawsuit is over and we are getting money soon?
A) No. The law allows the defendants to appeal the verdict, and the state has declared that it will appeal.  It will likely take anywhere between 18-40 months for the case to be totally resolved, at which time the claims process will begin.

Q) Is there a chance now that the State will offer to settle the case sooner?
A) Yes. The judge has encouraged both sides to consider the risks of losing on appeal.  The State has recently approached us about discussing a settlement of the case.  We will keep you updated on when talks start.

Q) I was an in-home care provider between 2003 and 2008 and I believe I may be entitled to financial recovery.  How can I make sure I will be considered?
A) Once the case is fully resolved, the court will order a claims process to begin.  If you believe you are a class member, you will be asked to submit a form and some form of documentation to the court-ordered claims administrator.  You should make sure you obtain provider numbers, client numbers, summary statements of hours and time cards if you have them.  We can check the database of names to verify whether you are on it. This process has not yet begun, so right now, you don’t need to do anything.  Check back regularly and keep an eye out and ear open for news about this case.

*** Remember if you, or your family or friends have been injured in car crashes, we are available to represent them, too.  We invite you to review our website for cases we have handled.  Contact us for more information.

December 20, 2010

DSHS Class Action – $57M Verdict for In-Home Care Providers

JURY AWARDS $57 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

If you think you may be a class member and want more information, please click here for frequently asked questions.

Largest award ever against State

A Thurston County jury today found that Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) short-changed about 22,000 home healthcare workers, and awarded the group $57 million in damages. The verdict followed a three week trial. DSHS underpaid the workers over a four year period. The workers filed a class action suit against DSHS in 2007, seeking payment of amounts DSHS wrongfully withheld. Today’s verdict represents the largest damage award ever against the State.

“The jury, after hearing from both the workers and Medicaid beneficiaries, and from DSHS personnel who implemented the pay reduction, found that DSHS breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing with the workers. This case has always been about whether DSHS should pay for work it required these folks to do,” said Greg McBroom of Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog, the lead law firm representing the plaintiffs. McBroom also represented the plaintiffs in one of the earlier cases striking down the DSHS rule. Jenkins v. DSHS, 160 Wn.2d 287, 157 P.2d 388 (2007)

“The jury’s decision means that 22,000 people, working from 2004-2008, for a little more than minimum wage, will be paid for all the hours DSHS required them to work,” said Darrell Cochran, of the Tacoma firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “While the total recovery is very large, the award to the workers amounts to about $2,500, on average. That $2,500 is a very large sum to someone making the minimum wage.”

DSHS administers Medicaid programs in Washington. In 2004, DSHS adopted a regulation that reduced pay for workers in the program by 15% if the worker lived with the person they were caring for. Workers who lived outside the home, performing the same services, received full pay for the services provided. Two trial courts struck down the DSHS rule shortly after it implemented the reduction. Even after the state Supreme Court also ruled against DSHS, the agency continued to underpay some workers for almost a year more.

The State will probably appeal the jury’s verdict said an attorney familiar with the case. If the State appeals, a final decision may be a year or two away. The Thurston county case is Rekhter v. DSHS, Docket no. 07-2-00895-8.

External Links:
http://www.theolympian.com/2010/12/21/1481355/caregivers-win-57m-award.html
http://www.kirklandviews.com/archives/23359
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/20/1473239/jury-awards-57-millionbrto-home.html

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