LATEST NEWS: The trial in Talarico v. PPL took place from Monday, Oct. 16, 2023 to Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. A decision will not come down from the bench immediately and may take many months. We will post here when a decision comes down, hopefully sometime in 2024 but there is no guarantee and no deadline.
Cohen Milstein represents “direct care” workers, who provide home care for individuals with disabilities, in a class action lawsuit alleging that Public Partnerships, LLC (PPL) violated federal and Pennsylvania state law when it denied or underpaid overtime wages to direct care workers it employed. This lawsuit seeks to hold PPL liable for these wages as one of the workers’ employers.
On May 13, 2022, the District Court granted class certification of these wage and hour claims against PPL. The ruling can be accessed here. The court certified the Rule 23 class, consisting of over 15,000 past and present homecare workers who brought Pennsylvania state law claims, and an opt-in class of more than 4,900 past and present homecare workers who bring FLSA claims. Plaintiffs will seek some additional discovery related to damages prior to the case proceeding to trial.
The Court-approved Notice to members of the certified class for state law claims was mailed on November 4, 2022. The Notice was sent to Direct Care Workers for whom PPL’s payroll records show they worked more than 40 hours in any week(s) from May 11, 2014 forward, but did not receive overtime premiums for such overtime hours. The Notice informs each recipient they are automatically a class member with a state law claim in this class action lawsuit. This lawsuit also includes federal claims under the FLSA, which require an “opt in,” but the deadline to join the FLSA class has passed. This case seeks to recover unpaid or underpaid overtime wages. As the Notice states, no action is required on your part to remain in this class action lawsuit. Please send changes of contact information to PADirectCareWorker@cohenmilstein.com so we will be able to reach you if necessary. We will keep this site updated as the case progresses so please check back here for case status updates.
Other Important Rulings
- On March 8, 2019, PPL filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the Court to dismiss our case, arguing that it is not an employer of the direct care workers. We filed our opposition, arguing that PPL fits the legal definition of a “joint employer” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). On January 28, 2020, Judge Schmehl of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued his order granting defendant PPL’s motion for summary judgment. We strongly disagreed with the Judge’s decision and appealed.
- On December 7, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the District Court, concluding that there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether PPL is a joint employer. Because “reasonable minds could come to different conclusions on the issue,” the Third Circuit held that PPL was not entitled to summary judgment. On February 3, 2021, the Third Circuit denied PPL’s request for a rehearing, thereby upholding its December ruling and reaffirming our successful appeal.
Direct care workers provide care to ensure the patients they serve can live safely in their own homes. They provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting; prepare meals and assist with feeding; do housework; ensure patients take their medications and assist with arranging medical appointments and transportation for appointments. Without their hard work over many hours, the individuals they serve would likely be in nursing homes. Much as they care for their clients, the work they do is involved, and they deserve to be paid for all hours worked, including at overtime rates when they work over 40 hours per week, as they so often do.
This putative class action filed on May 11, 2017 alleges that the defendant, PPL, violated federal law and Pennsylvania state law when it denied or underpaid overtime wages to direct care workers it employed. The case further alleges that, as the plaintiff’s primary or joint employer, PPL was responsible for paying these wages.The named plaintiff, Ralph Talarico, seeks unpaid wages and liquidated damages for himself and all other similarly situated direct care workers.
The Court denied a preliminary motion for summary judgment filed at the beginning of the case, permitting the case to proceed to discovery. At the close of discovery, defendant filed a new motion for summary judgment for which a hearing took place on July 10, 2019. On January 28, 2020, the District Court granted defendant PPL’s motion for summary judgment. Our Third Circuit appeal of that decision was successful and, on December 7, 2020, the case was remanded to the District Court. Subsequently, PPL petitioned the Third Circuit to re-hear the case, but on February 3, 2021, the appellate court denied PPL’s request for rehearing, thereby upholding its December ruling and re-affirming our successful appeal. The case went back to the District Court and trial took place starting on October 16, 2023 and ending on October 26, 2023. We are hoping a decision comes down from the bench in 2024.
The case is styled: Ralph Talarico v. Public Partnerships, LLC, Case No. 5:17-cv-02165, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and Arnold, Beyer, and Katz Law Firm.