Judge Orders NUHW Leaders to Pay Attorneys Fees to SEIU-UHW

For Immediate Release: October 4, 2011
Contact: Elizabeth Brennan, 323-888-8183

OAKLAND, Calif. – San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn ordered NUHW leaders to pay more than $50,000 in legal fees following the dismissal of a frivolous lawsuit.

In August a Superior Court judge granted SEIU’s anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed a lawsuit filed by NUHW President Sal Rosselli and other NUHW leaders, ruling that the charges were really an attempt to squelch SEIU’s free speech. That paved the way for NUHW leaders to reimburse the members of SEIU-UHW for legal expenses and attorneys’ fees accrued in the defense against the lawsuit.

Judge Kahn ordered NUHW leaders to pay legal expenses and all legal fees, which totals $57,890.45.

“NUHW leaders are more focused on filing lawsuits than serving their members,” said Janis Williams, a Kaiser employee in Southern California. “I’m glad we will be reimbursed our dues money so we can use our precious resources to help raise standards for more working people.”

In February, the National Union of Healthcare Workers president filed a lawsuit with great fanfare against the Service Employees International Union and five of its elected officers alleging the union had engaged in threats, intimidation, and assault. In August, a California Superior Court Judge ruled that they had no evidence.

Under the law, defendants in a lawsuit in which an anti-SLAPP motion is granted are entitled to collect attorney’s fees from the plaintiff, especially in cases where plaintiff’s bring frivolous lawsuits.

An anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion permits defendants in a lawsuit to show that the plaintiffs are not really attempting to settle an issue of law, but are actually attempting to stop groups and individuals from speaking out.

San Francisco attorney Angela Alioto filed the lawsuit on behalf of the NUHW leaders.

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