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Kuznyetsov v. West Penn Allegheny Health System

September 27, 2010

ANDREW KUZNYETSOV, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WEST PENN ALLEGHENY HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER OF COURT

Plaintiffs filed Objections to Special Master Orders Nos. 13, 14, and 15. (Docket Nos. 315-317). Defendants have filed a Consolidated Response. (Docket No. 318). Pursuant to Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, I reviewed all objections de novo.

The Objections arise from the Special Master's ruling on the following three Motions:

1. Motion to Compel Discovery Responses from All Hourly Employees Subject to Defendants' Meal Break Deduction Policy (Docket No. 233);

2. Motion to Compel Discovery Responses from All Entities that Comprise WPAHS (Docket No. 240); and

3. Motion to Identify Employees Excluded from the Notice List (Docket No. 252).

In a nutshell, all the Motions stem from a dispute between the parties as to who is included in the conditionally certified class. On June 1, 2009, I conditionally certified that class and ruled that "the policies affect all non-exempt employees, regardless of job title or work location." (Docket No. 81, p. 9). In so doing, I ordered the parties to agree upon a mutually acceptable Fair Labor Standard Act notice. The parties could not agree and I was charged with fashioning the notice based on arguments made by the parties. I began with the notice used in Camesi v. UPMC and made amendments from there.

While amending the notice to reflect the identity of the parties, I wrote the following:

The first necessary amendment to the Camesi notice is to change the identity of the Defendants. Plaintiffs suggest to switch the name "UPMC and related entities" to "West Penn Allegheny Health System and related entities." (Docket No. 108-5). Defendants argue that the name UPMC should be changed to "West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc., Allegheny General Hospital, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Alle-Kiski Medical Center or Canonsburg General Hospital ("West Penn")". (Docket No. 110, p. 4). Defendants submit that because of the complex merger among the Defendants in January of 2008, it may be confusing to potential plaintiffs to list only West Penn Allegheny Health System and related entities. After a review, I agree with Defendants that a short listing of West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc. plus the four hospitals accurately describes the named Defendants in this action and eliminates potential confusion by those employed by the named hospitals as to whether that they have a right to opt in. Therefore, the Camesi approved notice shall be altered at the top of the first page to read as follows:

If you worked for West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc.,

Allegheny General Hospital, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital,

Alle-Kiski Medical Center or Canonsburg General Hospital ("West

Penn") as an hourly employee in the last three yeas, a lawsuit may affect your rights.

Additionally, every time thereafter that UPMC occurs in the Camesi approved notice, it is to be changed to "West Penn." (Docket No. 115, p. 2). Defendants are now using this language to argue that they previously argued the notice should be restricted to the named ...


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