Molina et al v. Ace Homecare LLC

Middle District of Florida, flmd-8:2016-cv-02214

Exhibit A

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EXHIBIT A THIS IS NOT A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION TONI MOLINA, ERICA TOVAR, TARA WARD, CONSUELO POWELL, DONALD HALL and DEBBIE BURGESS, Plaintiffs, v. CASE NO.: 8:16-cv-02214JDW-TGW ACE HOMECARE, LLC, BRL INVESTMENTS, LLC, ARTHUR BARLAAN, and JOCELYN BARLAAN, Defendant. _______________________________/NOTICE OF WARN ACT CLASS LITIGATION YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS NOTICE BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO MAY BE ENTITLED TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST DEFENDANT ACE HOMECARE, LLC. A federal court has certified a class action against ACE HOMECARE, LLC, on behalf of a class of individuals who were laid off from their employment with ACE HOMECARE, LLC without being given a minimum of 60 days’ written notice of their termination. A federal court authorized this to be sent to you. You are not being sued. This is not an advertisement. Your legal rights are affected whether or not you take action. PLEASE READ THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY THIS NOTICE COULD AFFECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS I. PURPOSE OF THIS NOTICE The purpose of this Notice is to inform you of the existence of a class action lawsuit currently pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division styled as Toni Molina, et al v. Ace Home Care, LLC et al, Case No. 8:16-cv-02214JDW-TGW (the "WARN Litigation") brought under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the "WARN Act"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101 et seq. The WARN Litigation was initiated by former employees of Ace Homecare, on their behalf and on behalf of similarly situated former employees of Ace Homecare. If you worked for Ace Homecare and were terminated as a result of a mass layoff without at least 60 days’ advance notice, this Notice addresses your right to choose to participate in a lawsuit and to 2 possibly recover wages and benefits under the WARN Act. Specifically, this Notice advises you of how your rights may be affected by this lawsuit and tells you how you can participate in or opt-out of the lawsuit if you so desire. II. DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT On August 1, 2016, Plaintiffs Toni Molina, Erica Tovar, Tara Ward, and Consuelo Powell (the "Plaintiffs") filed with the Court a class action complaint (the "Complaint"), commencing the WARN Litigation. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs’ allege that they and similarly situated former employees were entitled to receive 60 days’ advance notice of a mass layoff by Ace Homecare (the "Defendant") under the WARN Act. Ace Homecare has denied the material allegations in the Complaint and has asserted multiple defenses. Ace Homecare alleges that the emergency suspension of all Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements which caused the closing of Ace Homecare was an unforeseeable business circumstance and that Ace Homecare acted in good faith when deciding not to issue the Warn notices prior to the layoffs. On September 18, 2017, The Court certified this matter as a class action with respect to the WARN Act claims described above. The Class is defined as follows: Any employee of ACE HOMECARE, LLC in Florida who was not given a minimum of 60 days’ written notice of termination and whose employment was terminated as a result of a "mass layoff" or "plant closing" as defined in CFR 639.3 and regulated by federal statute as codified under 29 U.S.C. §2101 under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988. The class excludes "part-time" employees as defined under 29 U.S.C. §2101(a)(8). You may meet the class criteria. Thus, you will become a class member of this lawsuit unless you choose to exclude yourself. The Court has not yet decided who will win this lawsuit or whether Ace Homecare will ultimately be liable under the WARN Act. The right to recover for any employee has not been established and is not certain. III. WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION AND WHO IS INVOLVED? A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or more individuals called "Class Representatives" (in this case, Toni Molina) bring suit on behalf of all the members of a group to recover money for all members of the group, without the necessity of each member of the group filing his or her own lawsuit. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except those for people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class. A Class Member is a person who participates in the class action and will be bound by any judgment in the case. 3 IV. YOUR OPTIONS You have two options concerning your decision to participate in this lawsuit: a) Submit an Opt-Out Form You can be excluded from this lawsuit and "opt-out" by submitting a letter to the Claims Administrator, who in this case is Plaintiff’s counsel, Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., 1110 N. Florida Ave., Suite 300, Tampa, FL 33602, 813-224-0431, that states in substantially similar language: "I request to be excluded from the lawsuit in Toni Molina, et al v. Ace Home Care, LLC et al., Case No. 8:16-cv-02214JDW-TGW (U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida)." You must also include your full name, address, and telephone number, and you must personally sign the letter. Your "opt-out" request must be submitted to Plaintiff’s counsel at 1110 N. Florida Ave., Suite 300, Tampa, FL 33602. You may not exclude yourself by telephone, facsimile, or via e-mail. Direct all inquiries concerning your rights in the WARN litigation to your own attorney or to Mr. Hill or Mr. Justice at the addresses in Paragraph VI. By excluding yourself from this lawsuit, you preserve your right to sue Ace Homecare separately regarding the claims alleged in this lawsuit. b) Do Nothing You can choose to do nothing and remain a class member in this lawsuit with respect to the claims alleged in this lawsuit. By doing nothing, you preserve your right to receive a portion of any money awarded in the event that Plaintiffs prevail in the lawsuit. However, by staying in this lawsuit you give up any right to sue Ace Homecare separately regarding the claims alleged in this lawsuit. V. WHAT RECOVERY DOES THE CLASS ACTION SEEK? On behalf of all Class Members, Plaintiffs seek to obtain back pay wages for a for each day of violation at a rate of compensation not less than the higher of the average regular rate received by such employee during the last three years of employment, or the final regular rate received by such employee. Plaintiffs also seek recovery of certain health insurance benefits. Lastly, Plaintiffs seek reasonably attorney’s fees and costs. VI. WHO REPRESENTS THE CLASS? Plaintiff Toni Molina has been approved by the Court as the Class Representative for this class action. She is a former employee of Ace Homecare that was terminated as a result of a mass layoff without being given a minimum of 60 days’ written notice as required under the WARN Act. As Class Representative, Molina is acting on behalf of herself and all other Class Members. The Court has appointed the following attorneys as Class Counsel: 4 Brandon J. Hill WENZEL FENTON CABASSA, P.A. 1110 N. Florida Avenue, Ste. 300 Tampa, Florida 33602 T: (813) 224-0431 F: (813) 229-8712 Email: bhill@wfclaw.com Email: twells@wfclaw.com Chad A. Justice BLACK ROCK TRIAL LAWYERS PLLC 201 S. Westland Avenue Tampa, Florida 33606 T: (813) 254-1777 F: (813) 254-3999 E-mail: chadjustice@blackrocklaw.com You also have a right to retain a different lawyer to represent you and have that lawyer enter an appearance in this lawsuit on your behalf. You may choose not to retain a lawyer and represent yourself in this action. If you elect to exclude yourself from this class action, you are free to file your own lawsuit. However, if you choose not to join in this action or file your own action, some or all of your potential claims may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Ace Homecare is represented by the following lawyers: Stanford R. Solomon & Blake J. Fredrickson THE SOLOMON LAW GROUP, P.A. 1881 West Kennedy Boulevard Tampa, FL 33606 Email: ssolomon@solomonlaw.com Email: bfredrickson@solomonlaw.com VII. IS THERE A TRIAL DATE SET FOR THIS CLASS ACTION? The Court has not yet set a trial date for this class action. VIII. HAS THE COURT DECIDED WHO IS RIGHT? The Court has not decided who will prevail in this lawsuit. By allowing this lawsuit to proceed as a class action and sending this Notice, the Court is not suggesting that Plaintiffs will win or lose this case. IX. IS THERE MONEY AVAILABLE NOW? No money or other relief is available now. There is no guarantee that money will ever be obtained. If any money or other relief becomes available and you have not excluded yourself from the class, you will be notified about the procedure for submitting a claim. 5 X. DO I HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO STAY IN THE CLASS? You may be a Class Member if you come within the definitions of the Class set forth above in this Notice. If you qualify as a Class Member and wish to remain a Class Member and have your interests in connection with this class action lawsuit represented by Class Counsel, you do not need to take any action at this time. You will receive further notices as the case progresses. If you remain in the Class, you will be legally bound by any decision, favorable or unfavorable, in this lawsuit. If you qualify as a Class Member and stay in the Class, and Plaintiffs obtain money or other relief as a result of a trial or a settlement, you will be notified about the procedure for submitting a claim for payment. You will be bound by any judgment in the matter, favorable or unfavorable, and you will give up the right to separately sue Ace Homecare for violations of the WARN Act. XI. IF I STAY IN THE CLASS, WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS? If you choose to participate in this lawsuit, you may be required to participate in the parties' discovery efforts related to the claims asserted in the lawsuit. This may include, for example, making yourself available for sworn testimony under oath via deposition, responding to written questions (known as "interrogatories") regarding your employment with Ace Homecare, responding to requests that you admit or deny certain facts, and providing documents relating to your employment with Ace Homecare that are in your possession, or testifying at trial. XII. WHAT FEES AND COSTS ARE INVOLVED? Class Counsel represents Plaintiffs on a contingency fee basis. Class Counsel shall make a request to the Court for attorneys' fees and costs, to be paid from any judgment, if Plaintiffs win at trial, or from any settlement funds should the parties later resolve the matter amicably. All applications for attorneys' fees and costs, including any incentive awards for the Named Plaintiff(s), are subject to Court approval. In the event that Ace Homecare prevails in the lawsuit, if you do not elect to be excluded from the Class, you may be required to share in liability for payment of the costs incurred by Ace Homecare. 6