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Jury Finds Against 16 Labor Bosses in Health Worker Case

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

Defense attorney Siegel, however, heatedly disputes the charges, saying the case is not over yet and that the plaintiffs' claims are exaggerated. In fact, he says, many of their original accusations were dropped or thrown out by the judge.

"We're disappointed that the jury awarded anything against us," Siegel says. "We feel like we've made a lot of progress in whittling down what was originally, the week before trial, a $25 million claim, down to $727,850."

Siegel maintains that the jury did not order his clients to pay $1.5 million, but that the judgment was either against the newly formed labor union, NUHW, or against the 16 remaining defendants. For example, Siegel says, the judgment against Rosselli was only $70,600; the decision against John Vellardita was $77,850.

"The judgment we believe is 'joint and several,' in that it is either against the defendants individually or against the NUHW. They are not both [the union and the individuals] responsible for the same amount. They [UHW] can't collect it twice."

Additionally, Siegel says, the bulk of the judgment is only "for the portion of UHW's operating costs that allegedly went toward helping members oppose SEIU's order and organize to resist a trusteeship."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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