A class of 634 Air Methods Corp. flight paramedics and nurses Tuesday convinced a federal judge in Colorado to give an initial greenlight to a $4 million deal that would end a lawsuit alleging they were denied overtime pay.
Plaintiffs sued on behalf of current and former flight paramedics and nurses in Illinois and Michigan in February 2019, saying the company failed to pay overtime for all hours, including “sleep time,” worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. Plaintiffs later added claimants based in New Mexico, and Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted class certification in December of 2020.
After “intense litigation” for years, the parties engaged in “extensive negotiations” and reached the deal, which includes $4,093,000 to be paid in two separate installments, 12 months apart. The proposed deal also includes up to $1,227,900 in attorneys’ fees, which represents 30% of the common fund, and $45,756.83 in costs, according to the motion seeking initial settlement approval.
“The parties and their counsel recognize that, in the absence of an approved settlement, they would face a continued long and uncertain litigation course, including potential further motions and possible appeals related to class certification, further discovery and discovery-related motions, expert discovery, further motions for summary judgment, motions in limine, trial and potential appellate proceedings,” the filing says.
Jackson approved the motion in a filing that wasn’t publicly available Tuesday. The judge also directed counsel to contact his chambers to schedule a final approval hearing.
Air Methods has fielded similar sleep time overtime suits by workers in other states, including California.
Plaintiffs are represented by Cowan Law Office PLC, Arnold & Miller PLC, and Moody & Stanford PC. Air Methods is represented by Fisher & Phillips LLP.
The case is Wagner v. Air Methods Corp., D. Colo., No. 1:19-cv-00484, 8/17/21.