Yuba College will claim cash from lawsuit
A total of $14,391 unclaimed after the $5.3 million settlement of a class action lawsuit.
The suit was brought by two Yuba City men over 12-hour hospital work shifts has been donated to the Yuba College nursing program.
The funds will be used principally to help offset costs of the Simulation Center at the college that presents real-life scenarios students might encounter such as a pregnant mother whose baby is breech, said college spokeswoman Miriam Root.
Terri Hamilton, chief executive officer of Rideout Health, said Rideout has long supported the college program and that its graduates often seek employment at sites including Fremont Medical Center in Yuba City and Rideout Regional Medical Center in Marysville.
Rideout and the Sacramento law firm of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff — which represented David Cooke and Glenn Green of Yuba City, along with a Chico woman, in the lawsuit against the Fremont Rideout Health Group — agreed to the donation.
"It allows us to find a very good use for unclaimed dollars," Hamilton said.
Cooke and Glenn brought the lawsuit on behalf of registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, monitor technicians and respiratory therapists who worked at Fremont-Rideout between 2004 and 2011.
The lawsuit involving more than 1,060 employees was settled last year.
Employees contended the hospital reduced pay when shifts for nurses and technicians changed from a 40-hour week to 36 hour and that workers were denied overtime pay, meal time and rest periods as required by law.
A Rideout representative said the suit was typical of scores of such legal actions filed against hospitals, fast-food chains and other companies employing shift workers in California over several years. State rules about missed breaks and meals are vague, the representative said.
The Sacramento law firm, which represented the health care workers, received $1.8 million in attorneys fees.
Attorney Bill Kershaw said in a statement about the donation that he and his staff came to understand how critically important the health care professionals are to Yuba City and Marysville.
"They are selfless and work hard to assure that the public receives the highest quality health care possible," Kershaw said. "Many of these health care professionals received their education and training at community colleges, which are currently experiencing serious shortfalls in funding in light of the state's fiscal crisis."