Week Adjourned: 8.21.10

Top Class Actions

No Sweet Deal for Suite Attendants in Georgia. A class action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf people who worked as Suite Attendants at Philips Arena, The Georgia Dome, and/or the Atlanta Motor Speedway (collectively the “Venues”) from January 1, 2006 to the present.

The suit is filed against Levy Premium Foodservice Limited Partnership d/b/a Atlanta Sports Catering, and Compass Group North America d/b/a Levy Restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia.

And the allegations? The defendant’s wrongful failure to pay the suite attendants service charges—the 20% service charge they automatically add to each bill for food and beverages purchased by suite owners and patrons at the hundreds of events held each year from 2006 to present at these venues. So, if you were expecting to get your tips while working as a ‘suite employee’ at any of these places, and didn’t—you’re not alone. Sadly. But—you know the old saying—there’s strength in numbers…you just want them on your side. 

Top Settlements

To the Aid of Medicaid Recipients. Money finally started to flow this week from two settlements that will have reaching effects in the way Medicaid is administered, apparently.

The two cases are Janigian v. District of Columbia (in the District) and E. Smith, et al. v. John Colmers, et al. (in Maryland), and they both alleged violations of federal and state law by overcharging Medicaid recipients for co-payments for their nursing home care. These are the first of their kind—so it will be interesting to see what, if any precedents they set.

The agreements affect residents who are in debt to nursing homes when they qualify for Medicaid. Federal law requires that residents’ Medicaid co-payments be reduced by the amount of that debt so that residents will have income available to pay their nursing home for pre-Medicaid services. Under their old rules, the District and Maryland ignored that law and set individual co-payments without regard to nursing home debt, leaving residents with no money to pay pre-Medicaid nursing home bills. Under the new agreements, the District and Maryland must comply with federal law and reduce the residents’ co-payments so that they can use some of their income to pay the old debts. Medicaid will cover the entire cost of nursing home care until those old debts are paid off.

Maryland has also agreed to pay $16 million over three years in adjusted Medicaid reimbursement claims, half of which will be reimbursed by the federal government. In return for the payments, which began yesterday, up to $64 million in unpaid nursing home charges owed by Medicaid recipients will be forgiven by nursing homes. In addition, both the Smith and Janigian cases have already resulted in modifications to the way the District and Maryland calculate recipients’ co-payments on an ongoing basis. The agreements were approved by the Washington, DC and Maryland courts earlier this year.

And Here’s One for Small Business Owners. Quiznos franchisees finally see justice—after years of litigation. This week a $206 million settlement was agreed to in the class action brought by the franchisees against Quiznos. The settlement is reportedly among the largest for a restaurant franchisee class action.

According to a media report, “The settlement offers a variety of monetary payments to individual plaintiffs as well as discounts on food and other supplies, depending on their status with the company.” And, “It will also provide debt forgiveness regarding royalty payments, advertising fees, and other monies owed. As part of the offer, Quiznos will make changes to its method of operations. It is also required to create an independent franchisee association to represent the self-interests of store owner-operators and to push back on Quiznos’ aggressive maneuvrings with franchisees.”

Ok. That’s it for this week. I hear the bar calling my name…

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