On August 23, 2023, our law firm, Towards Justice, and Donati Law, PLLC filed a lawsuit against SpecialtyCare on behalf of its surgical neurophysiologists. The Complaint alleges that SpecialtyCare requires new surgical neurophysiologists to sign a Training Repayment Agreement Provision (“TRAP”) in order to work for the company. To keep surgical neurophysiologists working, among other things, the Complaint alleges that SpecialtyCare contractually bars them from leaving their employment for a period of three years and threatens them with stiff financial penalties. The training, which involves part-time coursework, lasts no more than a year. But the TRAP debt continues to increase even after the training is over.
An employee who quits or is fired for cause within six months may owe SpecialtyCare $15,000. An employee who quits or is fired for cause after between two and three years with SpecialtyCare may find that their debt has doubled to $30,000. The Complaint alleges that this ballooning debt, even after the training is completed, shows that the TRAP is an unlawful attempt to keep workers trapped in underpaid, hard jobs, where leaving could mean paying back more than half of a year’s salary.
The lawsuit is filed as a putative collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and putative class action under Tennessee law. The action seeks to recover damages within the applicable statutory period, including the amount paid pursuant to the TRAP, statutory violations, and other damages/penalties recoverable under state law.
Dorta & Fuchs v. SpecialtyCare, Inc. Case No. 3:23-cv-00892 (Middle District of Tennessee)
Q:This is a Class or Collective Action. What Does that Mean?
This case is both a potential collective action under federal law and a potential class action under Tennessee state law. This means that, depending on the type of claim(s) you have, there may be a slightly different process for joining and participating in this suit.
Though the process and terminology may differ slightly, the idea behind both a class and collective action is the same: it allows one or more people to sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. To proceed as a group, though, the Court must certify the class and collective. Because we are in the early stages of the case, this has not happened yet, but we intend to seek the company’s agreement or file the motions at the appropriate time asking the Court to grant these certifications. But to join the federal minimum wage portion of this case, you must send in a consent form.
Q:Am I Eligible?
Because this lawsuit arises under both federal and state law, you may have a qualifying state law claim, federal law claim, or both federal and state law claims. You may be eligible to join this case if you were subject to the TRAP and worked for SpecialtyCare anytime since August 2020.
Again, to join the federal minimum wage portion of this case, you can submit the form electronically by clicking here.
If the Court certifies the case as a class action for the Tennessee law claims, and you are part of the certified class, you will receive a formal notice of the lawsuit with specific information about your eligibility and potential claims.
Q:What Time Frame Does This Case Cover?
A:Each type of federal and state law claim has what is called a statute of limitations, which allows workers to recover wages within specific time periods. Under federal law, the statute of limitations is two years back from when the worker signs up to join the lawsuit by completing and returning, and us filing, the consent form referenced above. If we can prove that SpecialtyCare intentionally or recklessly violated the law, then the statute of limitations may be extended back to three years. Under federal law, the claims may go back to August 23, 2021, under the two-year statute of limitations, or August 23, 2020, under a three-year statute of limitations. For claims under Tennessee state law, the claims may go back to August 23, 2017, under a six-year statute of limitations.
Q:Do I Have to Pay Anything?
A:You do not have to pay anything if you join the lawsuit. We are handling this case on a contingency fee basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement, award, or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement, award, or final judgment.
Q:What About Retaliation?
A:It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against a person for joining a lawsuit alleging violations of federal labor law. If you believe you may be the victim of retaliation for joining or participating in this lawsuit, contact the case clerk, Haley Thompson, at (612) 256-3268 or firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
Q:Is There Money Available Now?
A:No. This case was recently filed and is pending in federal court. There is no money currently available and there is no guarantee that you will receive money for joining the lawsuit.
Q:How Do I Learn More?
A:To learn more, contact the case clerk, Haley Thompson, at (612) 256-3268 or email@example.com.
We fight for the rights of both employees and consumers nationwide. We represent people from across the country in employee rights, wage and hour issues, financial services, and civil rights & social justice claims.Learn more
We are experienced in handling individual and multi-plaintiff cases and have the resources to take on companies, organizations, and government agencies of all sizes. We are currently handling many cases to advance employee, consumer, and civil rights.Learn more
We are proud of the work we do. With a team of experienced, passionate, and talented professionals, we relentlessly work every day on advancing and protecting the rights of the people in the workplace, the marketplace, and our government institutions.Learn More