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Detroit Medical Center agrees to settle with nurses, end long-running antitrust lawsuit

 Detroit Medical Center, Harper Hospital and Hutzel Woman's Hospital.
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A settlement between the Detroit Medical Center and more than 20,000 nurses is almost a done deal.

Detroit federal judge Gerald Rosen gave the agreement preliminary approval Monday. If given final approval, it will end a nine-year-old antitrust case against all of southeast Michigan’s major hospitals.

The nurses brought the class action, anti-trust lawsuit against the DMC and seven other Detroit-area hospital systems in 2006.

It alleged the hospitals “participated in an unlawful conspiracy to depress wages for Registered Nurses and/or to unlawfully exchange wage information,” in violation of antitrust laws, from 2002-2006.

The DMC was the lone defendant remaining in the case. The seven other hospital systems had already settled with the nurses for a combined $48 million.

The DMC had planned to take the case to trial next month, but recently reversed course and decide to settle too.

It’s expected to pay $42 million into a combined settlement fund, bringing total compensation in the case to $90 million.

“The settlement is not an admission of liability but rather a business decision to bring the matter to a resolution. We remain committed to our nurses, and value the hard work and dedication of all our hospital staff,” DMC counsel said in a written statement.

The DMC operates eight hospitals in the Detroit area. It was a non-profit hospital system when the lawsuit was filed in 2006.

Current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was DMC’s CEO at the time. He finalized a deal to sell the DMC to Vanguard Health Systems in 2010, which has since been acquired by Tenet Healthcare.  

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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