Prime Healthcare In the Spotlight Again: Hit With Age Discrimination Suit From New Jersey Nurses

Monday, November 14, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 10, 2016, California-based hospital chain Prime Healthcare Services Inc. (Prime) was slapped with a discrimination lawsuit in New Jersey state court. Three nurses formerlt employed by the company are alleging that they were discriminated against and fired at a New Jersey hospital earlier this year because of their ages.

Alleged Termination Based on Age.

The three plaintiffs, Vivian Lynch, Maureen O'Connell and Alane Palazzo, claim that they were terminated in August 2016, on false pretenses from their longtime positions at Saint Clare's Hospital in Denville Township, New Jersey. Saint Clare’s Hospital, where all three were formerly employed is an affiliate of Prime. The complaint was filed on October 26, 2016, in Morris County Superior Court.

“The termination of plaintiffs by defendant is a violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, that being specifically terminating plaintiffs for their age,” the complaint states.

To read the complaint in full, click here.

At the time of their terminations in August of 2016, Lynch, O'Connell and Palazzo were 60, 56 and 58 years old, according to their birth dates that were listed in court documents. The former nurses had worked at the hospital for decades; Lynch and O'Connell worked at the hospital for more than 29 and 27 years, respectively, and Palazzo worked there for nearly 37 years, according to the complaint.

Alleged False Charges.

According to the complaint, the reasons provided by hospital administrators for the plaintiffs terminations were “falsification of time records” for all three plaintiffs and “a charge of theft of service” for Lynch and O'Connell.  In addition to those alleged false charges, the defendants in the lawsuit told several hospital employees that the plaintiffs were terminated because they had created a safety issue for the patients, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit emphasizes that those statements provided by the defendants were false and damaged the plaintiffs' reputations in their decades-long nursing careers. “The individual defendants who made the false statements either knew the statements made were false, or made the statement with reckless disregard of its truth or falsity or acted negligently in failing to ascertain the truth or falsity of the statements,” according to the complaint.

The case is Vivian Lynch et al. v. Prime Healthcare Services-Saint Clares LLC et al., case number L-2406-16, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, County of Morris.

For more information on the importance of compliance, click here.

To read more about age discrimination in the workplace, click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Nurses and Nurse Aides.

The Health Law Firm’s attorneys routinely represent nurses and nurse aides in Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) complaints, investigations and hearings. They represented skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult homes, group homes, nurse registries, home health agencies (HHAs) and other types of health facilities. They also represent individual nurses and other licensed health professionals in investigations and defense of their licenses before state boards. We represent nurses across the U.S., and throughout Florida.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at


Wichert, Bill. “Prime Healthcare Hit With Age Bias Suit From Ex-NJ Nurses.” Law360. (November 10, 2016). Web.

Novak, Jake. “Age discrimination is starting to hit workers in their 40s.” CNBC. (November 1, 2015). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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