Couple, Palos-based health care biz reach settlement in FLSA, fraud cases

Jonathan Bilyk and Dan Churney Aug. 12, 2015, 10:51am

A husband and wife and their former employers have reached a settlement to potentially end three years of litigation over what the couple alleged was a Palos Heights-based health care company's demand the husband refund overtime paid to him, and, when he refused, fire him and his wife, who also worked for the company.

A document entry filed Aug. 12 in records in federal court in Chicago indicated the parties had reached a settlement. The entry did not include details of any potential settlement framework, but indicated the parties were scheduled to appear at a status hearing Aug. 19 to discuss the status of completing a written settlement agreement to formalize the settlement arrangement.

The matter stemmed from a three-count lawsuit brought in August 2012 by Steven and Amy O'Donnell in federal court against America at Home Healthcare and Nursing Services, alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. According to that complaint, Steven had served as the company's director of human resources and was paid overtime during a 13-month period - with the approval of the company's CEO - but the company's president allegedly objected to the payments. 

According to Steven, he was eventually told to repay part of his overtime earnings or face dismissal. Steven refused to go along with what he alleged was a violation of federal law, and was fired in June 2011. Steven’s wife, Amy, was a registered nurse also employed by America at Home. She was also fired in alleged retaliation.

In February 2015, America at Home’s motion for summary judgment was denied, and the next month, according to the O’Donnells, America at Home sold its stock to Great Lakes Acquisition Corporation. 

This move prompted the O’Donnells to lodge another suit on Aug. 6, this time in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging America at Home was trying to “hinder, delay, or defraud” the O’Donnells from collecting a judgment from America at Home in the federal case. The O’Donnell couple said neither America at Home nor its attorneys told them of the sale, and tried to withhold details of the transaction. This refusal spurred the couple to file a motion to compel America at Home to provide the information, but the O’Donnells said they are still in the dark on a number of details.

The Cook County complaint included two counts alleging fraudulent conveyance against America at Home Healthcare and Nursing Services, and Great Lakes Acquisition Corporation, as well as against several current and former officials and shareholders of the companies.

The purpose of the reshuffling is to render America at Home an insolvent corporation, unable to satisfy possible claims against it in the federal labor suit, the O’Donnells contended in their Cook County complaint.

The O’Donnells are represented in the action by the Park Ridge firm of attorney Michael Lee Tinaglia.

America at Home and Great Lakes Acquisition Corp. are represented in the actions by attorneys with the firms of Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa, of Chicago, and Lavelle Law, of Palatine.

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