A settlement agreement has been approved concerning a lawsuit filed by a group of Livingston County Emergency Medical Technicians, alleging they had been denied lawful overtime compensation.

According to court documents, a settlement of $150,000 was agreed to by the county, which admitted no wrongdoing. Five EMTs; Don Carr, Mack Carr, Autumn Millerov, Thomas Johnson and Tracey Camalet, filed the suit last year in U.S. District Court in Detroit against both the county itself and the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. 46 others later joined in the litigation, which requested a judgment for “damages for all unpaid wages and overtime compensation” as well as “further relief as this Court deems appropriate.”

The plaintiffs contended that under the current scheduling method, they “frequently work(ed) in excess of forty hours in a work week” as well as “frequently work(ed) additional overtime hours in excess of their regular schedules.” But they alleged that the county used an “inflated, artificial number of hours instead of using actual hours worked” with the result being that the EMTs were denied overtime compensation of time-and-a-half. They called the alleged violation, “willful, arbitrary, unreasonable, and in bad faith.”

The county insisted it had followed all applicable laws and statutes and that the defendants had, “failed to exhaust their administrative or contractual remedies.” The settlement followed an extensive discovery process in which evidence was gathered through requests for documents and depositions. Up to $50,000 of the settlement funds would be used for lawyers’ fees, with the remainder distributed to each named and opt-in plaintiff pro-rated to the overtime damages their counsel calculated for each.

When asked for comment, Livingston County Administrator Ken Hinton told WHMI that, “to avoid the potential costs of litigation the County settled this collective action of 51 plaintiff’s for $150,000. The plaintiffs’ attorneys received $50,000 of the settlement and the remaining amount was distributed to the EMS drivers who disputed the calculated overtime rate used in their pay. The adjustments to the individuals covering the period April 2015 to present ranged from $3.67 to $5,344.09.”

David Kotzian, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said their only comment was that they were “pleased” to be able to negotiate a fair resolution of the matter. (JK)