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  • Writer's pictureKevin Osborne

Class Certification Victory Against Sutter

This week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch granted EKO's Motion for Class Certification in a class action against Sutter Health. The case alleges the health care giant required its housekeepers to use OxyCide, an asthmagenic chemical cleaner, but concealed the harm it knew the cleaner was causing.

The Court found that both the injunctive relief class and the negligence subclass are pursuing claims that involve predominant common questions of law and fact, including whether Sutter Health breached duties to its workers and violated workplace health and safety regulations by requiring environmental services staff to use OxyCide.

Plaintiffs will soon ask the Court to prohibit Defendants from requiring the use of OxyCide without proper protections in violation of California’s Occupations Safety and Health Act (“Cal-OSHA”). Plaintiffs are also seeking money to compensate subclass members for harm caused by the Defendants’ conduct.

The Court certified the following classes:

Injunctive Relief Class: all persons who were employed at Sutter Health hospitals in the state of California as environmental services staff members and whose job duties included working with OxyCide from May 15, 2016 to the present.

Negligence Subclass: all class members who experienced burning eyes, burning throat, nasal congestion, nasal irritation, chronic cough, headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness, nosebleeds, hay fever symptoms, asthma symptoms, respiratory irritation, skin burns, rashes, or reactions affecting their pulmonary or respiratory functions while working with OxyCide from May 15, 2018 to the present. Excluded from this subclass are individuals who are pursuing or intend to pursue claims against EcoLab for those injuries.

Earlier this year, the Sacramento Bee reported on the case, highlighting the "corrosive" nature of the chemical and the profit motive underlying Sutter Health's conduct (paywall). Learn more about the case here.



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