The Times-Standard had an article about the decision by Plainitff’s attorneys in their successful class action case against understaffing in California nursing homes to participate in mediation to resolve the dispute despite the recent verdict in their favor.
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and lawyers for both sides signed a stipulation and order — essentially an agreement to begin mediation — with the purpose of reaching a settlement. The agreement was reached the day before the trial was set to continue before the jury with the punitive damages phase.
The stipulation and order mandates that a stay be enacted in the case, which postpones any further court action. The trial is currently scheduled to resume on Aug. 9, at which time any remaining issues will be tried in a court trial with a judge rather than a jury.
In the meantime, the plaintiffs have agreed not to seek any relief of the previously announced jury verdict (some $677 million in statutory damages and restitution). The defendants, in turn, agreed to not file for bankruptcy or seek any relief from a court under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which would allow for a reorganization of assets.
The mediation negotiations are slated to begin July 25. The stock market responded immediately to the agreement, with shares spiking at $3.21 Thursday morning after Skilled Healthcare released a statement acknowledging the stipulation before closing at $2.78, well above the Wednesday closing value of $2.25.