Former Workers at Uri Medical Center Win Big Decision for Workers’ Rights, Awarded $145,000 by Federal Court and Demand Payment
Flushing, NY–Federal District Court Judge Eric N. Vitaliano has ruled in favor of three former workers at Uri Hospital, and ordered their former employers – Soryang Kim, Koam Medical Services P.C., Ace Health Management, Inc., Henry Byun, and Jessica Byun – to pay more than $145,000 for unpaid wage claims and bills, battery claims, as well as fees, and costs.
The three victorious plaintiffs worked as a cook, a translator, and a receptionist at Uri Medical Center, located at 35-11 Farrington St in Flushing, Queens. Judge Vitaliano found that they were not paid their wages for up to four months of work by their employers, Koam Medical Services, P.C. and Ace Health Management, Inc., and by Soryang Kim, Henry Byun, and Jessica Byun, who managed the companies. In addition, the Judge found that one plaintiff was forcibly thrown out of the building after she asked for her wages, and Soryang Kim refused to pay thousands of dollars of charges she ran up on another employee’s phone bills.
The workers originally filed their lawsuit in 2005 in Federal Court in the Eastern District of New York. They were represented by YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community (YKASEC), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, pro bono co-counsel. After a trial in October 2007, Judge Eric N. Vitaliano ruled in favor of the workers on all of their claims and found Soryang Kim personally liable for the majority of these claims, among other findings.
“This decision is a great victory for all three workers, because it shows that dishonest employers who try to cheat their workers will end up being brought to justice,” said Steven Choi, YKASEC Korean Community Law Project Director and one of the litigating attorneys. “This is a great day for our clients, and we hope their victory encourages other workers who are in the same position to contact community groups such as YKASEC and AALDEF,” said Leah Campbell of Dewey & LeBoeuf, another attorney for plaintiffs.
Plaintiff Chung stated, “I worked so hard for that business doing whatever needed to be done, translating in three different languages and doing administrative work – I even opened up several phone lines for Soryang Kim. For that work, I didn’t get a cent of my unpaid wages – only bounced checks and hundreds of dollars of unauthorized phone charges. She refused to pay our rightful wages until the end, but I knew my rights and was certain we would win in the end.”
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), which is co-counsel in this case, is a 33-year old New York-based organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, advocacy, and community education. AALDEF has represented hundreds of Asian immigrant workers and assisted them in securing minimum wage and overtime pay.
YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community has been serving the Korean American community of greater New York since 1984 by promoting civic participation, cultural activities, education, and social services. YKASEC emphasizes assistance to those in the community with less access to mainstream resources, such as low-income residents, youth, elderly, recent immigrants, and those with limited English skills.
Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP is an international New York-headquartered law firm with more than 1,400 lawyers in 12 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, China, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Russia and Saudi Arabia. For additional information, please visit www.dl.com.
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