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On May 9, 2022, Garmer & Prather and its co-counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of Bob Evans servers in federal court in Ohio alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Kentucky Wages and Hours Act, and the Indiana Minimum Wage Law. The case covers certain Bob Evan restaurants in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee.

Under both state and federal law, restaurants may pay their servers less than the $7.25 per hour minimum wage assuming the server earns sufficient tips to make up the difference. But that exemption from the minimum wage requirement applies only to work that is part of their “tipped occupation,” and does not include time spent working on tasks such as preparing or cooking food, washing dishes, running carry-out orders, working as a host/hostess, cleaning bathrooms, training other employees, etc. On the other hand, employers can take advantage of the tip credit and pay servers less than minimum wage for certain work that directly supports the tip-producing work, for activities like rolling silverware, refilling condiments, setting tables and bussing them, and cleaning floors in the service area, but only if that work takes up a limited amount of time. While there are nuances to the law, in general the employer must pay the full minimum wage even for that “directly supporting” work if that work occupies more than 20% of the server’s total time, or any stretch of more than 30 consecutive minutes.

In the case filed this week, the servers allege that (1) Bob Evans required them to do non-tipped work without paying the minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour, (2) even when the non-tipped work was directly supporting the tipped work, it frequently took up more than the 20% of work time allowed by law or lasted more than 30 consecutive minutes, and (3) in some instances, the restaurant’s on-site manager told employees to clock in at a pay rate well above minimum wage, but long after the shift was over, Bob Evans’ management would log in to the system and retroactively and reduce their rate of pay to $2.13 per hour.

In a class action lawsuit, Senior Judge Joseph Hood of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington has certified a statewide class and entered judgments totaling $4,696,124 against Defendant The Aliera Companies, Inc., the creator and marketer of purported “health care sharing ministry” (“HCSM”) products. Aliera was founded by Timothy Moses and his wife and son in December 2015, the same year that Moses finished serving a six-year federal prison sentence for securities fraud and perjury.

HCSMs are organizations through which members share medical expenses among themselves. But HCSM plans must meet strict requirements in order to avoid being regulated as insurance products. For example, under federal law, an HCSM must have been in existence with members continually sharing health care costs since 1999, and under Kentucky law, all members of an HCSM must be members of the same denomination or religion. Since its inception, Aliera failed to comply with these requirements.

With this judgment, it is now established that despite the claims by Aliera that its health plans were “not insurance,” they were in fact insurance products as a matter of Kentucky law. Further, it is also established that the health insurance policies Aliera sold to customers as cheaper alternatives to traditional health insurance coverage did not comply with important requirements of Kentucky and federal insurance law, including requirements designed to protect consumers and ensure adequate funds were available to cover health care expenses.

If you are like many people here in Kentucky, summer means getting out on the water. Perhaps you have been looking forward to this time of year since winter. Now that you are out on the water, soaking up the sun with family and friends, you couldn’t be happier.

Then, out of nowhere, disaster strikes. Another recreational boat slammed into yours. Not only was your boat damaged, but you also suffered serious injuries. Sadly, this happens more often than you would think. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 4,158 boating accidents occurred in 2015. In those crashes, 2,613 injuries occurred and 626 people died.

What does the data say causes boating accidents?

While advancing technology and shrinking demand means fewer and fewer people are working in coal mines, a recent report shows that coal mine deaths nearly doubled last year.

With fewer regulators on the job, often the only incentive that mine operators have to protect their employees is the knowledge that somewhere out there, a trial lawyer will stand up for a miner’s rights, when management neglected the miner.

We have successfully represented a number of miners over the years who have been hurt in both surface mines and underground mines. Even though miners may have limited recourse against their employers due to various workers’ compensation laws, oftentimes a third party may be legally responsible for a miner’s injuries.

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