Thursday, May 5, 2016
Class action lawsuit filed against 'owners' of TransCare
Former employees for a regional ambulance service that suddenly shut down last week filed class-action federal lawsuits seeking two months’ wages and benefits for 1,200 employees who lost their jobs.
Warren Eisenstadt, 52, was one of hundreds of employees fired in a mass layoff on Feb. 25 by TransCare Corporation, a for-profit ambulance company that serviced Westchester County, New York City, Long Island and other states. Eisenstadt worked at TransCare as a transport emergency medical technician in Brooklyn since 2002.
On Monday, Eisenstadt filed a class-action lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court against Patriarch Partners LLC, a private equity fund. The lawsuit alleges Patriarch, whose portfolio includes TransCare, owns TransCare. The suit also mentions a tweet posted by Patriarch CEO Lynn Tilton about the February bankruptcy.
In addition, the lawsuit names “XYZ Entities 1-10,” which are “unknown entities which Patriarch lent to, acquired, or otherwise controlled TransCare.”
Eisenstadt's lawsuit seeks 60 days’ wages and benefits for at least 1,200 employees who were laid off. The lawsuit claims employees were fired without cause or notice in violation of federal employment law and the state WARN Act.
Are you a former TransCare worker and want to share your story? Contact Michael D'Onofrio at email@example.com.
Eisenstadt's lawsuit also alleges employees have not been paid for the work they performed shortly before they were fired, and some employees’ paychecks have bounced.
Patriarch said in a statement that the lawsuit was “meritless.”
“The plaintiffs’ claims of violation of the WARN Act are meritless since neither Patriarch Partners nor Lynn Tilton were the employer here,” Patriarch said in a released statement. “We will vigorously defend ourselves against these lawsuits.”
TransCare did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A similar class-action lawsuit was filed against Patriarch on Wednesday on behalf of Dalibel Garcia, who was also an employee at TransCare fired on Feb. 25.
On TransCare's website, Patriarch and Tilton are mentioned multiple times. OnTransCare's homepage, there is a link that reads, "About Patriarch Partners," that leads to an information page about Patriarch accompanied by a picture of Tilton. In addition, there is a link that reads, "A Lynn Tilton Company," which leads to Tilton's life story on Patriarch's own website.
When Eisenstadt found out he was going to lose his job, he said, "“I thought it wasn’t real. It was surreal, like it wasn’t happening.”
Eisenstadt, who lives in Brooklyn, said he went to the TransCare office on Hamilton Avenue around 1 a.m. on Feb. 26 to try to get his final paycheck, which he managed to get. Eisenstadt said he and other employees immediately went to cash their checks "because we thought the banks were bouncing them."
Eisenstadt's lawsuit alleges TransCare attempted to convince employees that the company was solvent, even as red flags continued to be raised. TransCare hired numerous employees about a month before the shutdown, who were only to be laid off weeks later.
When TransCare filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 24, the company notified employees that the restructuring would take place during the next “several months,” the lawsuit says.
For more, see: http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business/2016/03/03/class-action-lawsuit-patriarch-partners-transcare/81288184/