Pennsylvania Superior Court Quashes Interlocutory Appeal, Suggests Sanctions

Pennsylvania Superior Court Quashes Interlocutory Appeal, Suggests SanctionsIn the class action lawsuit Reed et al. v. Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. (C.C.P. Phila.) currently pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Please, SFMS represents a class of home nurses (“Plaintiffs”) who are bringing suit against Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. (“Bayada”) for violations of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.  Plaintiffs allege that Bayada refused to pay them for time worked in between shifts, in which the departing nurse would prepare the oncoming nurse and update them about the status of the patient.  This work performed was crucial for the nurses in order to meet the necessary standard of care and provide optimal treatment for patients, many of whom are children or senior citizens.  Plaintiffs also allege that Bayada required them to attend mandatory training sessions for which they were similarly not compensated.

In venturing to prove their case, Plaintiffs requested that Bayada produce the contact information for all class members.  Bayada consistently refused to produce the information and engaged in dilatory stall tactics to prevent Plaintiffs’ access to the obviously relevant information.  After the Court of Common Pleas ordered that Bayada produce the contact information for all class members, Bayada appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, claiming that the trial court’s mandate was a collateral order, which was immediately appealable due to the importance of the issues involved.

The Superior Court recently issued an opinion in which it quashed the appeal and ruled in favor of Plaintiffs, giving Bayada twenty days to comply with the order and produce the relevant contact information.  Significantly, the Superior Court found some of the arguments proffered by Bayada to be disingenuous and even suggested that Bayada “only filed this appeal from an unappealable order for purposes of delay; ergo the trial court may fashion any remedy or sanction that it deems necessary, including ordering [Bayada] to pay [Plaintiffs’] costs and counsel fees for this appeal.”

This is a major victory for Plaintiffs and SFMS as the Superior Court recognized the unfair tactics employed by Bayada, which are all too common in complex civil litigation, especially during discovery.  Additionally, the contact information of all class members will assist Plaintiffs in proving their case and achieving a great result on the merits.

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