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Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

Clark v. Centene Co. of Tex., L.P.

In Clark v. Centene Co. of Tex. , L.P., 656 F. App’x 688 (5th Cir. July 22, 2016), the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a favorable decision obtained by our attorneys, holding that a collective group of utilization review nurses working for an insurance company qualified to receive overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The appellate court held that the employer misclassified its nurses because they did not qualify for either the professional or the administrative exemption of the FLSA. The court reasoned in part that the professional exemption did not apply to utilization review nurses because the work they perform--reviewing medical files to determine whether authorization requests qualify for insurance coverage--did not require advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

“the regulations distinguish between professions requiring high levels of education and instruction and ‘occupations in which most employees have acquired their skill by experience.”

- Per Curiam, Fifth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals

Trial Court Results

Prior to the appellate court ruling affirming the finding that utilization review nurses are non-exempt from overtime requirements, the district court held a bench trial. Following the trial, the district court in Clark v. Centene Company of Texas, LP, 104 F. Supp. 3d 813 (W.D. Tex. 2015), awarded damages to the nurses represented by Nichols Kaster. The court found that plaintiffs submitted sufficient evidence to create a just and reasonable inference as to overtime hours worked by the collective and awarded liquidated damages (double recovery). After the appeal, judgment was entered for twenty-one nurses in the total amount of $1,024,484.67.

Judgment Entered

Past results are reported to provide an indication of the type of litigation in which we practice and should not be construed to create an expectation in any other case as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law. Any result we might have achieved on behalf of one client does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

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