Detroit, MI Nurse Wage Antitrust Conspiracy

Cason-Merenda et al. v. Detroit Medical Center et al. 
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Case No. 06-15601

Case Overview

Keller Rohrback is acting as co-lead counsel in this matter proceeding before Chief Judge Gerald Rosen of the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs’ Third Corrected Class Action Complaint alleges a conspiracy by eight hospitals in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (“Detroit MSA”) to depress the compensation levels of Registered Nurses (“RNs”) employed at the conspiring hospitals.


Case Status

Final Settlement

On January 27, 2016, Judge Gerald E. Rosen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted approval to a settlement reached with the last remaining defendant in this litigation, Detroit Medical Center (which will henceforth be referred to as “DMC”). This last settlement pays $42,000,000 to the Class, and resolves all claims in this case which alleged a conspiracy to suppress nurse compensation among eight Detroit area hospitals and is described in more detail in the Complaint attached below.

Details for this Settlement can be found on the website


Finalized Settlements

The Court has approved settlements with all eight defendants. These settlements collected over $90 million for Detroit hospital staff nurses. In addition, the Oakwood Settlement required that Oakwood not engage in certain exchanges of information concerning current and prospective nurse compensation.


The Litigation

On September 13, 2013, Judge Rosen certified a class of staff nurses who worked at the eight defendant hospitals. Judge Rosen affirmed that decision in a subsequent Order issued on March 2, 2014. On February 3, 2015, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied VHS’s motion seeking leave to appeal that Order, and on April 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit declined to grant an en banc review of that decision, with no Judge calling for a vote. Through this Order the Court authorized Ms. Cason-Merenda and Mr. Suhre to represent the claims of Detroit area nurses in this litigation so members of this class can have their claims pursued without the need of any individual action by those nurses. A copy of Judge Rosen’s two decisions and the decision of the Court of Appeals are available below.

Judge Rosen also denied three separate Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants as to Plaintiffs’ claim for a violation of the Sherman Act subject to the Rule of Reason while dismissing one aspect of Plaintiffs’ antitrust claim that is subject to per se treatment. A copy of that Order, which has been published as 862 F. Supp. 2d 603, is available below.

The Court also denied Defendants’ motion to exclude the testimony of Professor Orley Ashenfelter, Professor of Economics at Princeton University who would have testified for Plaintiffs at trial regarding the impact of the conspiracy on Detroit nurses, as well as providing an estimate of the damages suffered by those nurses. A copy of this decision is available below.

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