Judge Andrea R. Wood of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois named the Joseph Saveri Law Firm as interim co-lead counsel in an antitrust class action lawsuit against Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA), United Surgical Partners International (USPI), and an unnamed co-conspirator. The suit alleges these companies entered into agreements not to compete for one another’s senior-level employees. These so-called “no-poach” agreements enabled these companies to avoid paying competitive wages to retain their senior-staff.
The lawsuit is brought by a former employee of SCA on behalf of a proposed class of all senior-level employees of these companies (at minimum, “Director” and above) between May 2010 and October 2017, when the agreements were allegedly in effect. SCA, which is owned by United Healthgroup, Inc., is one of the largest providers of outpatient surgery in the United States with over 230 outpatient medical care facilities nationwide. USPI, owned by Tenet Healthcare Corporation, is part of a provider network with 550 outpatient and other medical facilities, 110,000 employees, and approximately 5,000 physician partners, serving 10 million patients annually across 28 states.
In labor markets, workers benefit from a competitive environment: Ideally, employers compete against one another to hire employees who have the training and skills to enhance the employers’ services and brands, resulting in higher compensation and benefits for those employees. In contrast, unlawful no-poach agreements suppress wages for employees who might have sought better opportunities with competing employers but were not hired because of the conspiracy. These no-poach agreements further limit compensation for all of the defendants’ senior-level health care employees—even those who did not seek other job opportunities—because companies adhere to a policy of internal equity, generally compensating workers of similar titles and job descriptions equally.
In January, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted SCA for these anticompetitive agreements. In its indictment, the DOJ alleged SCA conspired with other outpatient health care companies to suppress competition for senior-level employees in violation of federal antitrust laws. The DOJ is pursuing criminal charges, separate from civil liability that SCA, USPI, and their unnamed co-conspirator may face from employees affected by their anticompetitive conduct.
“This is an important case in which unlawful agreements effectively suppressed wages for workers and where these companies denied their employees access to a better life and the right to be paid the true value of their skills and talent. We are proud to represent the proposed class of affected employees and have extensive case leadership experience that will help provide a successful resolution,” says Joseph Saveri, counsel for the plaintiff.
The Firm’s original complaint was entitled Spradling v. Surgical Care Affiliates, LLC., case number 21-cv-01324, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This and several other cases have been reassigned and will be consolidated in front of Judge Wood in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
ABOUT THE FIRM
The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is one of the country’s most acclaimed, successful boutique firms, specializing in antitrust, class actions, and complex litigation on behalf of national and international consumers, purchasers, and employees across diverse industries. For further information on our practice and accomplishments on behalf of our clients, please visit www.saverilawfirm.com.