Amireh v. UW Medicine Northwest

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why was a notice issued?
  2. Who is included in the Settlement?
  3. What does the Settlement provide?
  4. What is the effect of the Settlement on the rights of Class Members?
  5. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?
  6. How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the settlement?
  7. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
  8. How and where can I get more detailed information?
  1. Why was a notice issued?

    The notice is to inform you about the proposed settlement that would resolve the class action lawsuit Kamal Amireh and Hugo Cabrera Villalobos, individually and on behalf of the class they seek to represent v. UW Medicine/Northwest d/b/a Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, a Washington corporation, King County Superior Court, Case No. 16-2-14579-5 SEA (the “Lawsuit”). The Lawsuit alleges that Northwest Hospital violated Washington’s Charity Care laws by not affirmatively screening all emergency department patients for eligibility for financial assistance. Northwest Hospital believes that it fully complied with the Charity Care laws and denies all liability in the case. The settlement, which must be approved by the Court, would resolve the Lawsuit.

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  2. Who is included in the Settlement?

    The “Settlement Class” is defined as:

    All individuals (or their guardians or representatives) who within the Class Period (June 21, 2010 through July 31, 2017):

    (a) received emergency care medical treatment in Northwest Hospital's emergency department;

    (b) were, at the time of service, "indigent" as defined by WAC 246-453-010( 4);

    (c) were not covered by insurance or any other third-party source of payment, in whole (uninsured) or in part(underinsured), at the time of treatment; and

    (d) were subject to collections without Northwest Hospital first affirmatively screening them for Charity Care Act eligibility by determining their income and family size.

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  3. What does the Settlement provide?

    The settlement results in both monetary and injunctive relief.

    The settlement provides for reimbursement (for payments made for hospital charges or collection costs) or forgiveness (for outstanding amounts owed) related to charges for services provided to charity care-eligible individuals at Northwest Hospital’s emergency department during the Class Period.

    The settlement also provides for prospective changes in Northwest Hospital policies to help increase awareness about financial assistance for charity-care eligible individuals. In addition to continuing its current financial assistance policies, Northwest Hospital will provide additional information about financial assistance to each emergency department patient, will ask each such patient if he or she is interested in learning more about financial assistance, and will refer to a financial counselor any patient who answers in the affirmative. Northwest Hospital will continue these policies for at least three years from the date of the settlement.

    The settlement provides for Plaintiff incentive payments in the amount of $1,000 each to be made to each Plaintiffs Kamal Amireh and to Plaintiff Hugo Cabrera Villalobos. Class Counsel will request to be paid $160,000 for all attorney fees and allowable litigation costs and expenses. The fees would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, negotiating the settlement, and monitoring compliance. Class Counsel’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees will be available here by February 27, 2018 or can be requested from Class Counsel after February 27, 2018.

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  4. What is the effect of the Settlement on the rights of Class Members?

    All Class members will be bound by the terms of the settlement relating to injunctive relief, and unless they exclude themselves from the terms relating to monetary relief, all Class members will also be bound by the terms relating to monetary relief. In other words, unless Class members exclude themselves from the terms relating to monetary relief, once the settlement is approved, all Class members will release and forever discharge any claims that were or could have been asserted against Northwest Hospital in the Lawsuit.

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  5. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the monetary portion of the settlement you must submit a signed letter by mail stating (a) that you are exercising your right to exclude yourself from the monetary portion of the settlement of the class action lawsuit known as Amireh v. Northwest Hospital, and (b) that you understand that by excluding yourself you will not be awarded any monetary relief from the Lawsuit but you are preserving any rights you would otherwise have to sue Northwest Hospital for damages. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and signature.  You must mail the exclusion request postmarked no later than January 15, 2018, to:  

    Amireh v NW Hospital Settlement Administrator
    c/o KCC Class Action Services, LLC
    P.O. Box 404041
    Louisville, KY 40233-4041

    You cannot exclude yourself by phone or by fax or email.

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  6. How do I tell the Court that I don’t like the settlement?

    If you are a settlement Class member, you can ask the Court to deny approval of this settlement by filing an objection with the Court. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. If the Court denies approval of the settlement terms, there will be no settlement and the Lawsuit will continue. You must object in writing and in accordance with the instructions below.

    To object, you must file the objection with the Court. Any objection must be received on or before January 15, 2018 for it to be considered. All written objections and supporting papers must clearly set forth:

    • The name of the Lawsuit, Kamal Amireh and Hugo Cabrera Villalobos, individually and on behalf of the class they seek to represent v. UW Medicine/Northwest d/b/a Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, a Washington corporation, King County Superior Court Case No. 16-2-14579-5 SEA; 
    • The Class member’s full name, address, and telephone number; and; 
    • The specific reasons for the objection, and any evidence or legal authority the Class member believes supports the objection.   

    The Court will Class members who fail to properly or timely file objections in writing with the Court and in accordance with the procedures set forth above shall not be heard during the fairness hearing described below. Nor shall their objections be considered by the Court.

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  7. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The King County Superior Court will hold a fairness hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement.  The fairness hearing will be held on March 20, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. at the King County Superior Court, 516 Third Avenue, Courtroom W-829, Seattle, WA 98104. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are objections or requests to be heard, the Court may consider them at the hearing. The Court may also decide the amount of attorney fees and costs to be paid to Class Counsel.

    If you file an objection, you may also appear at the fairness hearing. You may appear at the hearing either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney. To be heard at the hearing, you must ask the Court for permission to speak at the same in advance of the hearing. To do so, you must file, in writing, a Notice of Intention to Appear with the Court. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number and signature on the notice. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be filed no later than January 15, 2018.

    The date of the fairness hearing may change without further notice to the class. You should check this website or the website for the King County Superior Court’s Electronic Records Online, at http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/access-records/ECR-online.aspx, to get the most current information concerning the date of the hearing.

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  8. How and where can I get more detailed information?

    You may seek the advice and guidance of your own private attorney, at your own expense, if you desire. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the settlement agreement, contact Class Counsel using the information below, access the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Electronic Records Online website at http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/access-records/ECR-online.aspx, or visit the King County Superior Court, 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays. 

    To obtain a copy of the notice in alternate accessible formats, contact Class Counsel:

    Adam Berger
    Schroeter Goldmark & Bender
    810 Third Avenue, Suite 500
    Seattle, WA  98104

    Please do not contact the Court, the Court Clerk’s office, or Northwest Hospital’s Counsel with questions about this settlement. Any questions must be directed to Class Counsel at 1-800-809-2234 or berger@sgb-law.com, or  to the address provided above.

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