The notice below describes a lawsuit filed by a group of employees against Bwell Healthcare, Inc. and two of its owners. The lawsuit claims Bwell and these individuals failed to pay them fully for overtime worked, including for work time spent traveling directly from one client’s home to another client’s home. Please see below for the full notice and instructions on what you need to do if you want to file a claim in the case.
Follow this link for a consent form to join the lawsuit Pamela Holden, et al. v. Bwell Healthcare, Inc., et al. Forms should be mailed or delivered to:
Public Justice Center
1 North Charles Street, Suite 200
Baltimore, MD 21201
The notice signed by the Judge in this case is at this link: notice of collective action
NOTICE OF COLLECTIVE ACTION
To: All current and former home care employees who worked at any time from March 12, 2016, to the present for Bwell Healthcare, Inc.:
This notice contains important information about your rights under federal law (the Fair Labor Standards Act) as a result of your current or former employment with Bwell Healthcare, Inc. (“Bwell”).
A group of employees has filed a lawsuit against Bwell and two of its owners. The lawsuit claims Bwell and these individuals failed to pay them fully for overtime worked, including for work time spent traveling directly from one client’s home to another client’s home. You may be eligible to participate in this lawsuit.
This Notice describes the lawsuit and what you need to do if you want to file a claim in the case. This Notice is not an expression of any opinion as to any party’s claims or defenses. In other words, there is no guarantee you and other employees will win or lose the lawsuit.
DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT
On March 12, 2019, Pamela Holden and April Wright filed suit in federal court against Bwell and two of its owners, Femmy Kuti and Sunlola Kuti. The name and case number of this suit is Pamela Holden, et al. v. Bwell Healthcare, Inc., et al. 19-cv-760. Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint, adding claims of retaliation, was docketed by the Court on July 15, 2019.
The Plaintiffs claim, among other things, that Bwell failed to pay them an overtime rate of 1 ½ times their regular hourly rate when they worked over 40 hours in a workweek and failed to pay employees for time they spent traveling between clients’ homes in a single workday.
The lawsuit seeks back pay (unpaid overtime wages, including for compensable travel time), plus damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs. The right to recovery for any Plaintiff is not guaranteed or certain.
The Court has entered a preliminary injunction barring the Defendants from retaliating against any home care aides for participating in this lawsuit. The injunction also prohibits the Defendants from communicating with any home care aides about this lawsuit.
WHO CAN JOIN THE LAWSUIT
You may be eligible to join if you worked as a home care aide for Bwell and you worked more than 40 hours in a week but were not paid overtime (one-and-one-half times your hourly wages) for those overtime hours. You may also be eligible if you traveled directly from one client to another during the workday and, counting that travel time as work time, you worked more than 40 hours in a week. The case is limited to those employees who worked at any time from March 12, 2016, until the present.
NO RETALIATION PERMITTED
Federal law prohibits Defendants from firing you, retaliating against you, or discriminating against you in any manner because you join this lawsuit. If you believe that you are being targeted or treated unfairly because of joining this lawsuit, please call David Rodwin at 410-625-9409 immediately.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
If you meet the criteria above (“Who Can Join”), you may join this lawsuit (that is, you may “opt in”) by completing, signing, and mailing the enclosed Consent Form to the Plaintiffs’ lawyers at the following address:
Public Justice Center
1 North Charles Street, Suite 200
Baltimore, MD 21201
You may contact David Rodwin, an attorney for the Public Justice Center, at 410-625-9409 if you have any questions or concerns, including to confirm we received your Consent Form. You may also retain your own counsel.
If you think you are eligible to participate, please sign and mail the form as soon as possible. You may lose your right to compensation and damages if you do not act promptly. This form must be returned in sufficient time for Plaintiffs’ lawyers to file it with the court, and it must be filed within 90 days of the date at the end of the form. If you do not return the Consent Form in time, you may not be able to participate.
EFFECT OF JOINING THIS LAWSUIT
If you join this lawsuit, you will be bound by the judgment of the Court on all issues decided in this case, whether the disposition of those issues is favorable or not. While this lawsuit is pending, you may be required, with the assistance of the Plaintiffs’ attorneys or other lawyers of your choice, to respond to written questions or testify under oath. The attorneys for the class Plaintiffs are being paid on a contingency fee basis, which means that if there is no recovery there will be no attorneys’ fees. You will not need to pay any attorneys’ fees. If there is a recovery, the attorneys will be paid by the Defendants.
By joining this lawsuit, you designate the Plaintiffs Pamela Holden and April Wright as your agents to make decisions on your behalf concerning the litigation, the method and manner of conducting this litigation, the entering of an agreement with Plaintiffs’ counsel concerning fees and costs, and all other matters in this lawsuit. These decisions and agreements made and entered into by the Plaintiff Representatives will be binding on you if you join this lawsuit. Your immigration status has no bearing on this lawsuit or on your right to recover wages owed to you.
NO LEGAL EFFECT IN NOT JOINING SUIT
If you choose not to join this lawsuit, you need not do anything. If you do not join, you will not be affected by any judgment or settlement rendered in this lawsuit, whether favorable or unfavorable. However, if you do not timely file any claims you have, your claim could be time-barred, that is, it may be too late for you to file a claim.
This notice and its contents have been authorized by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. This Court takes no position regarding the merits of the parties’ claims or defenses.
Date Jan 3, 2020 The Honorable Stephanie A. Gallagher
U.S. District Court, District of Maryland
Members of the Lawyers’ Alliance for the Public Justice Center are private or public interest attorneys, corporate counsel, and law students, some of whom are members of the Board of Directors. They act as ambassadors for the PJC within their own firms or organizations, within the bar at large, and support the PJC’s mission in a variety of ways. To learn more, contact Kathleen Gregory by email or call (410) 625-9409 x239.
The Public Justice Center values the time and resources that the members of the private bar contribute to expanding our capacity for litigation and other advocacy. As members of our Litigation Partnership, individual attorneys and law firms provide assistance on specific PJC projects, whether by serving as co-counsel or by offering consultation or networking. If you or your firm is interested in serving on the PJC Litigation Partnership, please contact Legal Director Debra Gardner by email or call (410) 625-9409 x228.
The Public Justice Center welcomes volunteers whose interests, abilities, and availability match with staff needs. To be considered for volunteering, please send a resume and letter explaining your interest, abilities, and availability to Executive Director John Nethercut by email.