Nurses, Physician Assistants Move Forward with High-Stakes Overtime Lawsuit

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Department of Veterans Affairs accused of requiring off-the-clock work for years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are one step closer to getting their day in court through a lawsuit claiming they have been required to work off the clock for years.

Attorneys W. Michael Hamilton of Provost Umphrey Law Firm, L.L.P., in Nashville and David M. Cook of Cincinnati’s Cook & Logothetis, LLC, are leading the lawsuit on behalf of the VA health care workers. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., last week announced a Nov. 16 deadline for the plaintiffs’ amended complaint in Mercier, et al. v. The United States of America, No. 12-920C.

“We’re looking forward to taking depositions of VA officials who have required thousands of nurses to work an untold number of hours for no pay at all,” says Mr. Hamilton. “We plan to prove that our clients were put in the horrible position of having to either work off the clock or face disciplinary measures.”

The lawsuit seeks overtime pay for eligible VA employees from 2006 to the present. The plaintiffs say the VA has required them to perform extensive patient-related work for no pay using their VA facility computers, home computers and/or VA-supplied laptop computers, which include instructions for logging in from home. Those who do not complete the extra work are subjected to additional scrutiny from VA management, including disciplinary measures such as being written up for poor time management, the lawsuit says.

“These nurses and physician assistants are working ridiculous hours trying to save veterans’ lives or simply make their lives better, and they’re being punished for it, which is shameful,” says Mr. Cook. “These crucial health care workers are the primary clinical contact for countless veterans, but they’re not being paid for all their work.”

Currently, the VA employs more than 80,000 nurses in more than 1,400 medical centers and outpatient clinics in all 50 states, making the VA the largest employer of nurses in the U.S. The number of VA health care workers who may be covered by the ongoing lawsuit is unknown, but Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Cook estimate that as many 7,000 could be eligible if the lawsuit is certified as a class action.

About Provost Umphrey

For 50 years, Provost Umphrey’s mission has remained to seek justice for those most in need – those who have suffered a personal injury or death due to the wrongful conduct of others. Our attorneys fight for our clients nationwide with offices in Beaumont and Houston, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee. Provost Umphrey continues to be one of the most successful trial law firms in the nation by remaining Hard-Working Lawyers for Hard-Working People. More information at

About Cook & Logothetis

Cincinnati’s Cook & Logothetis protects workers’ rights in a variety of employment and labor law matters, including the representation of labor unions. The firm provides more than 37 years of experience in wage-and-hour claims, workplace disputes, wrongful terminations, disability claims, class-action litigation, and many other areas of law. Cook & Logothetis “does well, by doing good.” More information at

For more information on the VA lawsuit, please contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or

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