Non-Permanent State Employees
Health Benefits Case

Moore v Health Care Authority and State of Washington


This class action is brought by State of Washington employees who worked at least half-time on nonstandard work schedules. The employees were eligible for employer-paid health insurance, but the State failed to provide that health insurance even though the employees averaged at least half-time. The class consists mainly of employees that the Health Care Authority classifies as "nonpermanent" and "career seasonal" employees.

Key Developments

TAXES. We've received questions about how individual class members should treat the settlement checks for tax purposes. We are unable to provide tax advice to individual class members. Under the Settlement Agreement the money is intended "to compensate for damages for lost health and longevity." Settlement, Paragraph 67. We recommend you consult a tax advisor based on this information.

September 6, 2017: The case is concluded. All money from the settlement fund was disbursed as provided in the Settlement Agreement.

May 22, 2017: Checks were placed in the mail today.

May 15, 2017: The settlement checks are scheduled to be mailed out on May 22, 2017.

May 1, 2017: The Court approved the distribution of the settlement fund. The Court ordered that any claim form received after April 28, 2017 will not be eligible for monetary relief. We expect that before the end of May checks will be sent to class members who timely submitted claim forms. We will provide an update as soon as we know the exact date the checks will be mailed. The Order can be found here.

April 28, 2017: Hearing on Final Disbursement set for 9:30 a.m. before Judge Sean O'Donnell. We will be asking the court to approve sending out the settlement checks. If the judge approves, we expect checks will be mailed out to class members a few weeks after the approval.

March 1, 2017: The final claim was mailed today to class members who have not yet filed a claim form. Class members who do not submit a claim form will receive no money from the settlement. The deadline for returning the claim form is March 31, 2017. After the deadline for returning the claim form, the pro rata distribution for each individual class member will be calculated. We will also request that the court approve the distribution of the settlement fund to the class members who submitted claim forms. We continue to expect that individual checks will be sent to class members sometime this Spring 2017.

February 8, 2017: Because this class action includes more than 10,000 individuals and covers the time back to 2003, class counsel are still trying to locate all class members who are eligible for a share of the settlement. These efforts have taken longer than initially anticipated, but are almost complete. In February 2017, a final claim form is being sent to those class members who have not yet filed a claim form to ensure all eligible class members have an opportunity to claim their pro rata share of the settlement. We expect that individual checks will be sent to class members sometime this Spring 2017. Thank you for your patience

June 24, 2016: Settlement Approved at Hearing before Judge Sean O'Donnell at 10:00 a.m. Information regarding the settlement of the Moore case can be found HERE.

August 21, 2014: Washington State Supreme Court rules in favor of the class regarding method for calculating damages. Supreme Court Opinion - August 21, 2014

October 26, 2012: Tentative hearing date scheduled to determine appropriate monetary relief for class. Court's Ruling on Measure of Damages - 11-06-12.

September 17, 2012: Deadline for class members to opt out of action.

August 17, 2012: Notice to class members issued.

December 2011: Court ruled that class will remain certified for relief/damages.

August 2011: Court ruled that State must identify all potential class members who were wrongly denied health insurance.

June 2011: Court ruled for representative plaintiffs on breach of contract claim and six-year statute of limitations. Court reserved decision on class certification of contract claim.

October 2010: Court granted plaintiffs' motion to amend complaint to include breach of contract claim.

November 2009: Court ruled that State wrongly omitted certain class members from employer-paid health insurance under the "nonpermanent" employee category.

April 2009: The Washington Legislature passed statutory amendments to ensure the eligibility rules for health insurance are correctly applied in the future.

May 2008: Court ruled in part that State wrongly omitted from employer-paid health insurance certain class members who are "part-time faculty" members.

January 2008: State agreed to withdraw its affirmative defense that plaintiffs purportedly failed to "exhaust administrative remedies" after the parties filed motions on the matter.

December 2007: Court ruled that the State wrongly omitted certain class members from employer-paid health insurance under the "career seasonal" employee category.

June 2007: Court certified the class and granted class action status.

June 29, 2006: Case filed.

Class Definition

The Court has defined the class to include the following individuals:

Non-Permanent Employees. Persons who worked an average of at least half-time over a six month period and who were denied health care benefits commencing in the seventh month of employment, or in any month thereafter where the employee received pay for at least eight hours of work.

Career Seasonal/Instructional Year Employees. Persons who worked: (a) an average of at least half-time over a nine, ten or eleven month working season with some hours worked in each month of the season; (b) followed by a three, two or one month off-season, respectively, in which the person did not work;
(c) followed by a return to work in the same position as demonstrated by some hours worked in the first month of the second season; and (d) who were denied health care benefits.

For purposes of identifying persons who meet the class definition, "half-time" means 80 hours per month. There remains an issue, however, as to whether "half-time" for determining eligibility for health insurance and any entitlement to monetary relief is a greater number of hours at certain state agencies. This issue will be resolved in the future.

An employee receiving or waiving health benefits who is terminated or voluntarily resigns, but is later rehired, may not use hours worked prior to termination or resignation to establish eligibility for health benefits after the rehire.

The class does not include the following individuals:

A. Employees who waived health benefits;

B. Members of the Washington Conservation Corp. unless the employee holds an administrative or supervisory position;

C. Employees of Washington State University's Cooperative Extension Program who hold a federal civil service appointment and who elected to participate in a federal health program in lieu of state employee health benefits;

D. Officers and employees of the state convention and trade center;

E. Enrollees in the Washington Service Corp;

F. Students of a higher education institution who are employed by the institution;

G. Work study students; and

H. Employees who received health benefits as the spouse, dependent or other family member of another Public Employees Benefits Board subscriber.


Key Developments

Class Definition

Case Documents

Related Press