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The Thirteenth Amendment,

involved in Matter of Vinluan v. Doyle (N.Y. App. Div. Jan. 13):

Ten nurses, all from the Republic of the Philippines, are under indictment in Suffolk County for the misdemeanor offenses of conspiracy in the sixth degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and endangering the welfare of a physically-disabled person. The prosecution of these individuals came in the aftermath of their simultaneous resignations from positions at a Long Island nursing home. [The amount of notice provided before the next scheduled shift for each nurse ranged from 8 to 72 hours.] The attorney who provided these nurses with legal advice was also indicted....

[T]he indictment handed down against the petitioners explicitly makes the nurses' conduct in resigning their positions a component of each of the crimes charged. Thus, the indictment places the nurses in the position of being required to remain in Sentosa's service after submitting their resignations, even if only for a relatively brief period of notice, or being subject to criminal sanction. Accordingly, the prosecution has the practical effect of exposing the nurses to criminal penalty for exercising their right to leave their employment at will. The imposition of such a limitation upon the nurses' ability to freely exercise their right to resign from the service of an employer who allegedly failed to fulfill the promises and commitments made to them is the antithesis of the free and voluntary system of labor envisioned by the framers of the Thirteenth Amendment. While we are, of course, mindful that protecting vulnerable children from harm is of enormous importance, the fact that the prosecution may serve a legitimate societal aim does not suspend the nurses' constitutional right to be free from involuntary service.

We are also cognizant of the fact that Thirteenth Amendment rights are not absolute, and that "not all situations in which labor is compelled ... by force of law" are unconstitutional. It has been recognized that the Thirteen Amendment "was not intended to apply to exceptional cases well established in the common law at the time" of its enactment. Thus, the Amendment has been held inapplicable to a narrow class of civic duties that have traditionally been enforced by means of imprisonment, including military service.... [A]n individual's right to be free from involuntary service may be limited in "exceptional cases, such as the service of a sailor ... the obligations of a child to its parents, or of an apprentice to his master, or the power of the legislature to make unlawful and punish criminally an abandonment by an employee of his post of labor in any extreme cases."

Guided by these principles, we conclude that this is not an exceptional case justifying a restriction of the petitioners' Thirteenth Amendment rights. The nurses in this case were engaged in private employment rather than the performance of public service. Moreover, while they possessed the education and training necessary to care for chronically ill patients, including children on ventilators, these skills are not so unique or specialized that they cannot be readily performed by other qualified nurses. Furthermore, although an employee's abandonment of his or her post in an "extreme case" may constitute an exceptional circumstance which warrants infringement upon the right to freely leave employment, the respondent District Attorney proffers no reason why this is an "extreme case." The nurses did not abandon their posts in the middle of their shifts. Rather, they resigned after the completion of their shifts, when the pediatric patients at Avalon Gardens were under the care of other nurses and staff members.

Moreover, while the indictment alleges that the nurses collectively resigned "knowing that their resignations and the prior resignations at other Sentosa Care facilities would render it difficult for Avalon Gardens to find, in a timely manner, skilled replacement nurses for Avalon Gardens' pediatric patients," it is undisputed that coverage was indeed obtained, and no facts suggesting an imminent threat to the well being of the children have been alleged. Indeed, the fact that no children were deprived of nursing care played a large role in the Education Department's decision to clear the nurses of professional misconduct. Under these circumstances, we cannot conclude that this is such an "extreme case" that the State's interest in prosecuting the petitioners for misdemeanor offenses based upon the speculative possibility that the nurses' conduct could have harmed the pediatric patients at Avalon Gardens justifies abridging the nurses' Thirteenth Amendment rights by criminalizing their resignations from the service of their private employer.

Note that the Thirteenth Amendment argument rests heavily on several Supreme Court cases from the first half of the 1900s, such as Pollock v. Williams (1944). There's also a passage on lawyers' First Amendment rights to offer objectively reasonable advice to their clients: "it would eviscerate the right to give and receive legal counsel with respect to potential criminal liability if an attorney could be charged with conspiracy and solicitation whenever a District Attorney disagreed with that advice."

A Law Dawg:
"it would eviscerate the right to give and receive legal counsel with respect to potential criminal liability if an attorney could be charged with conspiracy and solicitation whenever a District Attorney disagreed with that advice."


I have an idea that half the Bush legal team just became huge fans of the NY Appellate Division.
1.16.2009 4:22pm
Another David (mail):
If company policy required them to give notice before leaving, I see no reason that they wouldn't be guilty of breach of contract. A criminal offense, though? Not so much. And the charges against the attorney are pure bull.
1.16.2009 4:24pm
DG:
A prosecution is correct when a heart surgeon walks away from a patient after cutting them open, or a nuclear reactor operator decides to take a powder without a qualified relief. Train operators can't quit while the train is in motion - same with bus drivers.

But in this case, that sort of imminent danger to others did not exist. For sufficient money, you can hire any sort of temp nurse you want. If you demand notice, you get a contract with severe penalties for non-compliance and you pay accordingly. Otherwise, you are paying for something you don't get.

Involuntary servitude sucks.
1.16.2009 4:27pm
DG:
{If company policy required them to give notice before leaving, I see no reason that they wouldn't be guilty of breach of contract. A criminal offense, though? Not so much. And the charges against the attorney are pure bull.}

Come again? If I violate one of my company's policies, then can sue me for breach of contract, if I'm an at-will employee? I'm as pro-business as they come, but if a company isn't required to give me notice to terminate me, I'm not required to give them notice if I quit. Ever heard of a contract? Thats something that both parties sign and that there is some sort of consideration granted.
1.16.2009 4:29pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:
The fact that no patients suffered any adverse effects and that there are lots of nurses available to work for the right price makes this a fairly easy case IMHO. I find myself entirely sympathetic with the nurses and outraged that they had to face criminal sanctions for exercising their right not quit their job. But, I wonder whether the prosecution is not as outrageous as my first impression if the facts had been a little different. I like the "power of the legislature to make unlawful and punish criminally an abandonment by an employee of his post of labor in any extreme cases." It's easy to imagine lots of jobs where many people would die is someone quit on the spot. Not sure exactly where to draw the line between certain death for many and speculative possibility that someone could suffer significant harm such as this case.
1.16.2009 4:29pm
Dennis Nolan (mail):
Section 8(g) of the National Labor Relations Act imposes a 10-day notice period on strikes and certain other conduct in a health care institution. Failure to comply would be an unfair labor practice, but only the labor organization would be liable, not individuals. Moreover, the law doesn't prohibit quitting as opposed to striking, so there's no 13th Amendment issue.
1.16.2009 4:32pm
Another David (mail):
I'm assuming there was some sort of document signed where the employee agrees to abide by company policy. If not, then yeah, there's nothing whatsoever to hang on the nurses.
1.16.2009 4:32pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
A tangential case of "involuntary servitude" arose last week in California. It is the law in California that any patient who comes to an emergency room must be seen and treated. (that seems very reasonable) Both the hospital and individual private physicians are so covered by the law. Last week the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that if a person has insurance and the insurance company elects for whatever reason not to pay for an out of network, as per contract, ER visit the private physician may not charge the individual patient for his services. He may only sue the insurance company and hope to collect there. Many many ER visits are strictly for patient convenience and not true emergencies. Nevertheless both the physician and the hospital are required to work without payment. Violation of the 13th amendment?
1.16.2009 4:48pm
John (mail):
The nurses won the breach of contract suit that the employer brought. Then they were indicted! This is such a stupid criminal proceeding I find it hard to believe the D.A. isn't corrupt.
1.16.2009 4:50pm
vassil_petrov (mail):
Libertarian1,
I think yes.
1.16.2009 4:52pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:
Professor Volokh, any opinion on the case?
1.16.2009 4:55pm
Another David (mail):
John: Well, that settles that, then.
1.16.2009 4:58pm
a_j_1979:
Why is it relevant in any way to point out in the post that all the nurses are from the Philippines? Was in any way hinted that foreign nurses have less rights than American nurses? Or that foreigners can't be trusted?
1.16.2009 5:08pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
A_j_1979: The quote is from the opening paragraph of the opinion itself. I assume the opinion included it because the factual background shed light on why the nurses were subject to substantial penalty clauses in their contracts, why they might have known little about the employment conditions that they would actually face, and the like. But in any case the factual discussion often includes such background even if it proves not to be directly relevant to any legal analysis.
1.16.2009 5:14pm
Kazinski:
Wow, this case has to be unique. How many Prosecutors also operate nursing homes?
1.16.2009 5:17pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm assuming there was some sort of document signed where the employee agrees to abide by company policy. If not, then yeah, there's nothing whatsoever to hang on the nurses."

Company policy changes with the wind. It can say anything.
1.16.2009 5:35pm
Norman Bates (mail):
Suffolk County LI: Investigate a little further and you'd probably find that Sentosa is run by a friend of the Suffolk political machine. Maybe it's the prosecutor who should be facing charges.
1.16.2009 5:41pm
c.gray (mail):

Investigate a little further and you'd probably find that Sentosa is run by a friend of the Suffolk political machine. Maybe it's the prosecutor who should be facing charges.



Even if this is true, a grand jury returned an indictment.

Further evidence of the adage that a grand jury will indict a ham and cheese sandwich if a prosecutor asks.
1.16.2009 5:59pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
Although legally allowable, the nurses' actions were unprofessional. Yes, the remaining nurses did manage to provide care for the seriously ill children, probably by comprising care in less critical areas of the nursing home and by working double shifts.

The 10 nurses should have met with the nurse manager (or equivalent), explained their grievances, and either proposed changes that would address their grievances or announced that they all would quit in two weeks. Unless conditions are acutely atrocious, there is no point to quitting with almost no notice. That's what led to the charges and indictments (right or wrong).
1.16.2009 6:28pm
PersonFromPorlock:
c.gray:

Further evidence of the adage that a grand jury will indict a ham and cheese sandwich if a prosecutor asks.

That's a ham sandwich: a ham and cheese sandwich would also face conspiracy charges.

Seriously, the only rational explanation for these charges is that the DA is corrupt; I'm sure the NYS Bar, urged on by an outraged Court, will be looking into that Real Soon Now.
1.16.2009 6:30pm
Ak:
Unless conditions are acutely atrocious, there is no point to quitting with almost no notice. That's what led to the charges and indictments (right or wrong).

"Yes, it's not justified to shoot someone who talks in the movie theater... but we all need to realize talking in the movie theater is really annoying."

So what? That's absolutely no justification for a bizarre attempt at putting these nurses in prison. Nobody cares if they are apparently not in the running for good employee of the year. Sticking it back to an employer who has wronged you is a grand old American tradition. It only becomes a crime when you stick it to somebody who's politically connected, and that is the point of this story.
1.16.2009 6:51pm
gasman (mail):
If their not showing up for work with advance notice of at least one shift constitutes endangerment of the patients, then that endangerment could only occur if the preceding shift worker left.
The duty on the one then present, at the patient's bedside is established by their very presence. They cannot leave if their replacement fails to show.
The replacement (the ones charged in this case) had no immediate practitioner-patient relationship, and cannot be guilty of patient endangerment/abandonment unless the workers on the previous shift actually abandon the patients.
1.16.2009 6:52pm
luagha:
The account is interesting reading, Dr. T. It appears as if the nurses did make their complaints well known. If you care to believe the nurses, Sentosa essentially lured them to the United States with a bill of goods, did not deliver, and was essentially running a 'nurse sweatshop.' Their original contract held that Sentosa would handle their lodging for the first two months they would be in the states while their nurse paperwork was being handled - the housing was inadequate, the pay was not what they were led to believe, and neither was the job what they had been led to believe.

Given that, they claim that they feared retaliation if they gave two week's notice. At least now the retaliation appears legal and not physical.
1.16.2009 7:17pm
The Florida Masochist (mail) (www):
Dr. T wrote-

The 10 nurses should have met with the nurse manager (or equivalent), explained their grievances, and either proposed changes that would address their grievances or announced that they all would quit in two weeks.
That only works if the nurse manager isn't part of why the nurses have grievances. Since they are a part of the nursing home's management, they are most often part of the problem.

My Filipina sister-in-law came to the US in late 1999 to work as nurse. She worked at a nursing home in Miami Beach. In October 2000, the corp. that owned the home and employed Leonette, began bouncing payroll checks. Obviously a breach of contract by the employer. When the nurses complained to the Nurse manager, they were told to work and shut up, or immigration would be called. Which was an empty threat meant to intimidate the nurses. It didn't work. The employer actually gave my sister-in-law a second worthless check(We checked with the bank that it was drawn on before depositing it. There was insufficient funds.)

Don't think this nursing home in New York didn't try similar tactics. There had to be an awfully good reason for the nurses to quit like they did.

This isn't a criminal matter.
1.16.2009 8:18pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Libertarian1: The case was about who should pay them, not about whether they should be paid. There's any number of laws that say that if you want to offer a particular service, you cannot discriminate in certain ways about who you offer that service to. Laws that prohibit cab drivers from refusing customers when they are on duty are one example. You may or may not like these laws, but I don't think they're 13th amendment violations.
1.16.2009 8:24pm
PeterWimsey (mail):
Unless conditions are acutely atrocious, there is no point to quitting with almost no notice. That's what led to the charges and indictments (right or wrong).



In the linked article it explains that the nurses were afraid of retaliation if they gave notice. FWIW.
1.16.2009 8:27pm
Oren:
While I agree with the general sentiment that this is a purely civil matter, I have to say the nurses' behavior is atrocious. No matter how nasty the management is (and, taking the allegations at face value, the answer is very) it is absolutely unacceptable for any medical professional that takes their oath seriously to endanger patient welfare for any reason whatsoever.

Moreover, if a contract states 2-week notice, that is certainly not unconscionable. IMO, the nurses that walked out contrary to their contractual obligations ought to be financially responsible for whatever it cost the home to arrange for adequate staffing during those two weeks.
1.16.2009 10:09pm
midlantan (mail):
So, any members of the NY bar here have an opinion on whether Spota's conduct in bringing the indictment and pressing the case was sanctionable under local rules or state ethics laws? It seems the feds could make out a case under 1983 if they so chose. Although the latter seems unlikely, it would make for an ironic twist, given the attempt to prosecute the nurses' counsel for analogous advice and decision-making.
1.16.2009 10:29pm
SPO:
Oren, your comment is somewhat incoherent. You take for granted that the contract was breached by management, yet state that the nurses should have to pay damages.

You also imply that management's conduct is irrelevant in a question as to whether the nurses have to show up at their place of employ? How does that work? It's one thing to say that when the nurses are in the presence of the person in their care, they cannot abandon that person, but where is the legal duty to show up and help the patients? The employment relationship with the employer that has arguably been severed by the breach caused by the employer? That seems far-fetched.
1.16.2009 10:31pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

no facts suggesting an imminent threat to the well being of the children have been alleged. Indeed, the fact that no children were deprived of nursing care played a large role in the Education Department's decision to clear the nurses of professional misconduct.


That part of the opinion makes it seem that no patients were endangered.
1.16.2009 10:34pm
dr. jan itor:
we need to jail more da's and judges. these folks work with impunity. jeez.
1.16.2009 11:05pm
Oren:

Oren, your comment is somewhat incoherent. You take for granted that the contract was breached by management, yet state that the nurses should have to pay damages.

As I understand it, ordinary breach of contract by a party does not immediately release the counterparty from their obligations unless explicitly provided for in the contract. Unless you want to argue that the breach was repudiatory, the nurses' obligations under the contract were undisturbed.


That part of the opinion makes it seem that no patients were endangered.

Bob, the fact that no patients were endangered does not mean that, at the time the nurses' took action, there was no risk of the patients being endangered.
1.16.2009 11:46pm
Nifonged:
"the fact that no patients were endangered does not mean that, at the time the nurses' took action, there was no risk of the patients being endangered."

Uhh, ok pal. Did you catch the part where these were imported nurses from the Phillipines that were treated like dirt and compensated accordingly? These weren't heart surgeons. There are plenty of qualified nurses and hospitals in Suffolk County that can and will take care of patients in non-emergency situations. As SPO astutely commented, this wasn't a case where a medical professional ditched their patient in the emergency room. Its a case of people completing their shifts (read, fulfilling their obligations) and moving on.

If medical providers were subject to your strange sense of devotion or else risk fear of criminal prosecution, we wouldn't have any medical providers....that's a great world to live in. I suppose my physician should never retire, after all, he knows more about my medical history than any replacement, thus his retirement would place my "welfare in danger."
1.16.2009 11:54pm
Oren:


Uhh, ok pal. Did you catch the part where these were imported nurses from the Phillipines that were treated like dirt and compensated accordingly?

Did you catch the part in contract law where breach by a party does not relieve the other parties from their duty to perform except under extraordinary circumstances? Please pick up your favorite book on contract law and search the index for "fundamental breach" or "repudiatory breach".

I don't excuse whatever the management did wrong -- they should be held accountable to their contract as well as all the relevant provisions of US&NY labor law. None of that, however, is relevant to whether the nurses had a duty to fulfill their contractual obligations.


There are plenty of qualified nurses and hospitals in Suffolk County that can and will take care of patients in non-emergency situations.

Excellent. I presume the nurses will pay for overtime to hire those nurses, which comes as a direct result of their willful breach of contract.


If medical providers were subject to your strange sense of devotion or else risk fear of criminal prosecution ...

(1) I stated quite clearly that I agree with the general sentiment that nothing about this case suggests anything remotely criminal. This is a civil matter -- the nurses broke their contract.

(2) Is giving 2-week notice really "strange devotion"? Virtually every employment contract in this country contains a 2-week notice clause, which I think is quite reasonable. Do you really believe that employees with such a term are under no obligation to honor it?

(Aside: If you like, I'll concede me entire line of reasoning that relies on a notion of the nurses professional ethics. The contract issue stands well enough on its own).
1.17.2009 12:07am
Nifonged:
"Did you catch the part in contract law"

I could not care less about contract law since that had nothing to do with my post. My post concerned your strange statement that these nurses engaged in "atrocious" behavior when THEY WERE CLEARED BY THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL BOARD.

Did you even read the link? I can't imagine a situation where a lawyer is criminally prosecuted for an action if the state bar clears said action.

There may be a story here, but it doesn't involve the nurses' behavior (hint, check my moniker as to who the real bad actor may be). The fact that the DA went after their attorney is pretty clear evidence that something's rotten in Denmark (or Suffolk).

Again, I don't care about the contractual obligation as I haven't read the contract, and unless you have I have no idea why you think your argument stands on its own.
1.17.2009 12:17am
Nifonged:
"Virtually every employment contract in this country contains a 2-week notice clause"

I practiced for years as a private law firm attorney in NYC, and currently review employment contracts with my current company. I've NEVER seen a two week notice clause in an employment contract (if by employment contract we're referring to an executory employment agreement). I've seen many 60-days and 90-days notices (with extremely vague penalty provisions) for, you know, the people the company actually cares about. I HAVE seen employee guides where its recommended and encouraged that employees give two weeks notice in the event they choose to leave, but "at-will" means exactly that, "at-will." I'm not sure how enforceable an employee guide is.
1.17.2009 12:32am
Chem_geek:
Oren,

(2) Is giving 2-week notice really "strange devotion"? Virtually every employment contract in this country contains a 2-week notice clause, which I think is quite reasonable. Do you really believe that employees with such a term are under no obligation to honor it?


While "virtually every employment contract" may contain a two week notice clause, I'd be willing to wager that virtually every employer is more likely to tend to give two hours notice (if that) when they're the one contemplating breaking the contract.
1.17.2009 12:38am
David Matthews (mail):
Fascinating.

This is the sort of post that makes me read VC far more than I ever comment here.

On the other hand, this is also obviously the sort of post that actuates my comments, since, in fact, it did.
1.17.2009 12:46am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"As I understand it, ordinary breach of contract by a party does not immediately release the counterparty from their obligations unless explicitly provided for in the contract."

Long time since I took Contracts, but as I recollect a material breach by one party does release the other party. And from the description, it sure sounds like a material breach to me.

If I wuz the prosecutor, I'd be looking at charges filed the other way. The nurses were lured over here with largely empty promises, induced to sign multi-year contracts with $25,000 liquidated damage clauses, when it's hard to see that as justified save as indentured servitude, etc..
1.17.2009 1:12am
David M. Nieporent (www):
While I agree with the general sentiment that this is a purely civil matter, I have to say the nurses' behavior is atrocious. No matter how nasty the management is (and, taking the allegations at face value, the answer is very) it is absolutely unacceptable for any medical professional that takes their oath seriously to endanger patient welfare for any reason whatsoever.
In fact, no patients were endangered; that was part of the decision. The only thing endangered was profits for the facility.

Moreover, if a contract states 2-week notice, that is certainly not unconscionable. IMO, the nurses that walked out contrary to their contractual obligations ought to be financially responsible for whatever it cost the home to arrange for adequate staffing during those two weeks.
You're confused in three respects.

1. There was no contract requiring 2 weeks notice here; and
2. If there were, then of course the nurses would be responsible for paying damages, and nobody is arguing otherwise; except
3. The employer had already breached its contract with the nurses, so why would the nurses have to pay damages to the employer?
1.17.2009 1:44am
Oren:

While "virtually every employment contract" may contain a two week notice clause, I'd be willing to wager that virtually every employer is more likely to tend to give two hours notice (if that) when they're the one contemplating breaking the contract.

If the contract provides for 2-week notice by the employer, then failure to do so is a breach by the employer. If the contract doesn't say that, what's the problem?
1.17.2009 10:03am
SPO:
Oren, are you really arguing that in the context of an employment contract, the employer's "nasty" breaches (including non-payment for overtime and lower wages than promised--assuming the allegations as true) don't justify an employee saying "I quit"?

And even your damages analysis is off. The damages (which would, of course, be offset by the damages for the "nasty" breaches by the employer) would be the difference between what they paid for the staffing for that 2 weeks and what they would have paid the nurses.
1.17.2009 10:21am
SPO:
Oren, are you really arguing that in the context of an employment contract, the employer's "nasty" breaches (including non-payment for overtime and lower wages than promised--assuming the allegations as true) don't justify an employee saying "I quit"?

And even your damages analysis is off. The damages (which would, of course, be offset by the damages for the "nasty" breaches by the employer) would be the difference between what they paid for the staffing for that 2 weeks and what they would have paid the nurses.
1.17.2009 10:21am
SPO:
Oren, are you really arguing that in the context of an employment contract, the employer's "nasty" breaches (including non-payment for overtime and lower wages than promised--assuming the allegations as true) don't justify an employee saying "I quit"?

And even your damages analysis is off. The damages (which would, of course, be offset by the damages for the "nasty" breaches by the employer) would be the difference between what they paid for the staffing for that 2 weeks and what they would have paid the nurses.
1.17.2009 10:21am
Eli Rabett (www):
Best argument for unions on this blog in weeks
1.17.2009 10:22am
Oren:

I've seen many 60-days and 90-days notices (with extremely vague penalty provisions) for, you know, the people the company actually cares about.

And would you advise your clients to brazenly ignore those terms?
1.17.2009 10:22am
Ed Unneland (mail):
I was surprised that the Appellate Division proceded by way of prohibition. Normally, the decision whether to prosecute is a core executive function; however, from the opinion, it seems Article 78 has been broadened in New York to encompass this sort of relief.

One odd bit from this decision is that it seems that the indictment itself was not dismissed. I am guessing, due to the procedural posture, that these people remain under indictment, but that DA Spota and Justice Doyle cannot proceed to trial. Would it be proper for Vinulan and the others to go back to Supreme Court in Suffolk to ask (another judge) to dismiss the indictment? In such a case, Governor Paterson would have to designate a new prose

I can't believe that any prosecutor even contemplated proceeding criminally for more than about three minutes. Even more problematic is that Justice Doyle did not dismiss the indictment. In the judge's defense, perhaps his default stance is that indictments should be tried; under this thinking, if the jury acquits it is a much greater vindication than dismissal.

(I'm not an attorney, and don't even play one on television, so this is not legal advice.)
1.17.2009 11:02am
Oren:

Oren, are you really arguing that in the context of an employment contract, the employer's "nasty" breaches (including non-payment for overtime and lower wages than promised--assuming the allegations as true) don't justify an employee saying "I quit"?

In order for a breach of contract to be repudiatory, it must deprive a party the entire benefit of the contract. If the nurses were paid (even if they weren't paid as agreed), the breach is not fundamental and the nurses and are not entitled to suspend performance.

As I said before, please look up "fundamental breach" or "repudiatory breach" in your favorite book on contract law and then try to make your case.


And even your damages analysis is off. The damages (which would, of course, be offset by the damages for the "nasty" breaches by the employer) would be the difference between what they paid for the staffing for that 2 weeks and what they would have paid the nurses.

Absolutely. After all the math is done, the management might end up owing the nurses quite a bit of scratch and perhaps even criminally liable for violation of the relevant labor law.

My only point (lost, I'm afraid, in this mess of a discussion) was to express my disapproval of the nurses decision to remedy the managements breach of contract by themselves breaching the contract.
1.17.2009 11:02am
Ed Unneland (mail):
Sorry, my previous post should have said "In such a case, Governor Paterson would have to designate a new prosecutor." In New York, when a district attorney cannot proceed (for instance, if a DA's family member is the victim of a crime), the Governor appoints a special prosecutor. Sometimes, the Governor will designate the state Attorney General as the special prosecutor, or the DA from a neighboring county might be designated.

In any case, I hope Supreme Court in Suffolk takes the Appellate Division's opinion to heart; perhaps they could even dismiss the indictment sua sponte.

Illegal immigration is a matter generating a good deal of comment in Suffolk County (e.g., Farmingville, the policies of County Executive Levy). Should these proceedings be considered in this context? Also, before this gets partisan, DA Spota and County Executive Levy are Democrats.
1.17.2009 11:34am
Nifonged:
"And would you advise your clients to brazenly ignore those terms?"

Have you ever had a paying client? Do you understand that real practice (not academia or theory) involves client risk assessment and risk sensitivity? If my client has a 90-day termination clause I wouldn't write a legal opinion stating that he could terminate his employment without recourse, but on the other hand I wouldn't stomp my foot repeatedly shouting "No! No! No! you must fulfill your obligations!"

True story, had a client that was the CEO of an $80M start-up that took about $10M in additional private capital. Needless to say the investor insisted on an employment agreement (90 days termination), a non-compete and key man insurance.

A year later my guy developed some health issues, perhaps not to the point that it qualified as a "Disability" per his employment agreement but enough (in his eyes at least) and he wanted out, and he believed 90 more days at work would affect his health more. I gave him my counsel, in the form of a memorandum, that stated what his obligations were under the original deal documents were and what potential recourse the investor may have in his breach.

Solution: we worked it out. It was a negotiation, just like our original deal was negotiated. Litigation is expensive. Just because a party has a right under a contract doesn't mean its in their best interests to enforce it to the last letter.

"My only point (lost, I'm afraid, in this mess of a discussion) was to express my disapproval of the nurses decision to remedy the managements breach of contract by themselves breaching the contract."

Well the mess is you've ASSUMED the terms of the contract without having read it and ASSUMED a breach, called their actions "atrocious" (which is why I first responded) and for some reason assume that their employment contract, as you state virtually all employment contracts, have a 2-week notice period (which is not the case, customary business courtesy does not equal a contractual obligation).
1.17.2009 11:40am
Nifonged:
BTW Oren, not sure if you caught John's comment above:

"The nurses won the breach of contract suit that the employer brought."

I have no knowledge of the civil case at all, and don't know if John is correct.
1.17.2009 11:44am
Nifonged:
"1. There was no contract requiring 2 weeks notice here; and
2. If there were, then of course the nurses would be responsible for paying damages, and nobody is arguing otherwise; except "

Actually I would argue otherwise if the contract stated a party could terminate immediately in the event of a material breach by the other party, which is very customary in employment contracts. But I'm not going to make any assumptions.
1.17.2009 11:49am
ShelbyC:
Almost no employment agreements require two-week or any other notice, and employers usually bend over backwards to make clear that anything contained in "company policy" isn't contractual.
1.17.2009 1:19pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Oren forgets the first rule of holes.
1.17.2009 1:41pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
David Schwartz (mail):
Libertarian1: The case was about who should pay them, not about whether they should be paid. There's any number of laws that say that if you want to offer a particular service, you cannot discriminate in certain ways about who you offer that service to. Laws that prohibit cab drivers from refusing customers when they are on duty are one example. You may or may not like these laws, but I don't think they're 13th amendment violations.



My complaint is you say "if you want to offer a particular service". The ER physicians didn't want to offer those services to people who wouldn't/couldn't pay, they were mandated by law to offer those services. Other than not practicing medicine what were their choices?

They were told by law you must work and you may or may not be paid. If you are not paid, tough luck. That is why before I give a collagen injection I get paid in advance. If they asked for proof of insurance in advance and the coverage did not cover out of service network, what exactly are the choices for the physician worker?
1.17.2009 2:04pm
Oscar Michelen (mail):
Without getting too much into the legalities,as the lawyer for the attorney charged with the nurses in this matter I feel I need to clear up some misconceptions on this thread:
(1)The NLRB requirement of 10 day notice applies only to unionized health care workers. These were non-unionized health care workers so the year at will employees.
(2)There was no contract between the home and the nurses. In fact, one of the frauds in recruiting them was that they signed a contact with a nursing home and then were made to work for an employment agency.
(3) They were made agency nurses and some were made "supervisors" even though they were only in the country for two months to avoid them unionizing.
(4) No nurse resigned during a shift. Some gave as much as four days notice and all shifts were always covered. Thats why their actions were cleared by two state agencies (education and Health)NO PATIENTS WERE EVER ENDANGERED. In fact, the court here specifically found that the only thing endangered was the home's finances.
(5) They complained in writing several times to nursing supervisors, held group meetings with the head of the home made lists of grievances, etc for months before taking this action. They even told the supervisor in writing that if their most important grievances were not addressed they would resign en masse two weeks before they did.
(6)Here's some of their main grievances. They were promised housing as a condition of their coming to America and were upset that it consisted of one small three bedroom house for 14 adults with only one bathroom even though men and women shared the house. Several of the men slept on the floor. The house had no phone and no internet access so they were cut off from home and had to walk 3 miles to the library to get internet and a phone. They were supposed to be "direct hires" of a particular nursing home but instead were made agency nurses paid at a much lower rate than promised and with none of the promised benefits.
Even though they were new to the country and new to nursing they were put in charge of 30-40 patients. When they worked at night, they were given no aides, so in addition to their duties they had to change bed sheets, empty garbage pails ,etc. (Remember they were RNs).I could go on but those were the big ones
(7) My client, their lawyer, was asked by the Philippine Consulate to get involved on a pro bono basis.He never told them to quit he just advised them of their rights under the law as I stated above and filed a discrimination claim. This prosecution forced him to shut down his practice, he had quadruple bypass and he was under surveillance by the nursing home owners.
(8) These nursing home owners are extremely politically connected.The investigation into their recruitment practices ended when they got US Sen Chuck Schumer to send four letters to the Philippines on their behalf including the last one to the President of the country. After the case was dropped Schumer received $75,000 from them in contributions. They got this indictment one year after the nurses resigned by arranging a private meeting with DA Tom Spota. While our request for a special prosecutor was sitting on Gov Spitzer's desk for four months (joined by dozens of letters from unions, immigration advocacy groups, law professors, etc) they through a fundraiser for Spitzer where he received $40,000 in contributions. Spitzer's office claimed they did not know of the connection but never returned the money once Newsday told them the connection.

ALL OF THE ABOVE WAS DOCUMENTED IN OUR MOTION NONE OF THESE FACTS WERE REFUTED BY THE OTHER SIDE.

This was a miscarriage of justice and a usurpation of our system by politically connected nursing home owners who were upset that a lawyer got these quiet, dignified people to act. I for one won't rest until we get to the bottom of all of this.
1.17.2009 2:19pm
TGGP (mail) (www):
I like Walter Block's take on labor contracts.
1.17.2009 2:26pm
SPO:
Oren, you are silly. In the real world, not paying your employees what they are to be paid is cause enough for them to walk. Hence the reason why banks almost always fund payroll for their borrowers, even if borrowers are in default. In any event, there is another principle of contract law, namely implied conditions. And most courts, after they stopped laughing out loud, would find that a worker being paid his wages is an implied condition of said worker being contractually obligated to show up for work.
1.17.2009 3:25pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Thanks to Oscar M. for the facts. Also, Oren, I'm with ShelbyC: where do you get the idea that employment contracts typically include a two-week notice clause?

There are some interesting cases on what happens when an employee signs a contract to, say, work for a year, and then quits for reasons unrelated to the employer's conduct, well short of the year. Some courts have awarded money damages to the employer (e.g., costs of finding a replacement, excess wages if any). Of course the facts don't support that here.

And good lord, a criminal prosecution? I wonder if Oscar M. could share with us what he thinks was really going on here.
1.17.2009 4:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
In order for a breach of contract to be repudiatory, it must deprive a party the entire benefit of the contract. If the nurses were paid (even if they weren't paid as agreed), the breach is not fundamental and the nurses and are not entitled to suspend performance.

As I said before, please look up "fundamental breach" or "repudiatory breach" in your favorite book on contract law and then try to make your case.
My bad; I thought we were talking about American law, not English law.


Nifonged:
Actually I would argue otherwise if the contract stated a party could terminate immediately in the event of a material breach by the other party, which is very customary in employment contracts. But I'm not going to make any assumptions.
I've never understood commenters who cut a sentence in half and then argue with the first part, even though the second part addresses their claim. Please re-read my post. The whole thing. Don't stop where you cut it off.
1.17.2009 5:04pm
Ed Unneland (mail):
Hearty congratulations to Oscar Michaelsen for his success in the Appellate Division. His work in this matter is in the best tradition of the bar.
1.17.2009 5:10pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Libertarian1:
My complaint is you say "if you want to offer a particular service". The ER physicians didn't want to offer those services to people who wouldn't/couldn't pay, they were mandated by law to offer those services. Other than not practicing medicine what were their choices?
In the case of patients who have insurance, the insurance is required to pay for the services, whether they are provided in or out of network. And this law covers emergency medical care only.

All the court case was about was whether the patient was a party to billing disputes between the provider and the HMO. The law requires to provider to charge reasonable rates and requires the HMO to pay reasonable rates.

Parts of what the law does are pretty much required. You can't have a person brought by ambulance to a hospital with a gunshot wound and the ER doc saying, "this hospital is low on cash, sign over your million dollar house if you want us to even look at you" while you're bleeding to death.
1.17.2009 5:48pm
ReaderY:
I think a fair look at the the situation suggests that the case nurses in this context is not only very similar to, but perhaps a fortiori in comparison to, the situation of sailors on a voyage, which the Supreme Court held in the 19th century could be compelled not to resign without notice notwithstanding the 13th Amendment. Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275 (1897). A doctor (or nurse) would seem to be in a similar boat as the sailor who can be compelled to serve out the voyage, or the lawyer who the Supreme Court also held can be compelled to serve a court-appointed pro bon case. There seems to be simply too much Supreme Court 13th Amendment caselaw holding that members of certain critical professions can indeed be compelled not to desert their posts without at least some attention paid to what happens to their charges for the nurses here to win.

As the Robertson Court noted:


The prohibition of slavery in the Thirteenth Amendment is well known to have been adopted with reference to a state of affairs which had existed in certain states of the Union since the foundation of the government, while the addition of the words "involuntary servitude" were said, in the Slaughterhouse Cases, 16 Wall. 36, to have been intended to cover the system of Mexican peonage and the Chinese coolie trade, the practical operation of which might have been a revival of the institution of slavery under a different and less offensive name. It is clear, however, that the amendment was not intended to introduce any novel doctrine with respect to certain descriptions of service which have always been treated as exceptional, such as military and naval enlistments, or to disturb the right of parents and guardians to the custody of their minor children or wards. The amendment, however, makes no distinction between a public and a private service. To say that persons engaged in a public service are not within the amendment is to admit that there are exceptions to its general language, and the further question is at once presented, where shall the line be drawn? We know of no better answer to make than to say that services which have from time immemorial been treated as exceptional shall not be regarded as within its purview.

From the earliest historical period, the contract of the sailor has been treated as an exceptional one, and involving, to a certain extent, the surrender of his personal liberty during the life of the contract. Indeed the business of navigation could scarcely be carried on without some guaranty, beyond the ordinary civil remedies upon contract, that the sailor will not desert the ship at a critical moment or leave her at some place where seamen are impossible to be obtained -- as Molloy forcibly expresses it, "to rot in her neglected brine." Such desertion might involve a long delay of the vessel while the master is seeking another crew, an abandonment of the voyage, and, in some cases, the safety of the ship itself. Hence, the laws of nearly all maritime nations have made provision for securing the personal attendance of the crew on board, and for their criminal punishment for desertion, or absence without leave, during the life of the shipping articles.


Strikingly similar to the case of sailors (and lawyers), the common law has long regarded the medical professions as having an exceptional character and doctors as having a special duty to their patients, a duty which cannot simply be abandoned at will without any attention to ensuring the safety of patients is maintained. That ancient duty, like the ancient duties of sailors, both preceded and survived the 13th Amendment's enactment.

The 13th Amendment simply was not intended to abolish the concept of professional duty and professional responsibility.
1.17.2009 7:29pm
ReaderY:
Nurses obviously cannot be held forever, but requiring some sort of reasonable notice and cooperation with a transition would be a minor inconvenience compared to being compellable to serve out an entire voyage in an age of slow-paced ships, which the Robertson court held could be done.
1.17.2009 7:40pm
VFBVFB (mail):
When SentosaCare claims that patients were endangered by the nurses' decision to quit suddenly, they are acknowledging they failed to have adequate backup plans for the sudden non-appearance of the nurses. That is simply irresponsible. Even if the nurses did not choose to quit, events outside of their control could have prevented them from appearing for work. They all shared one residence. There could have been a fire or natural gas leak there that would have precluded them from showing up for work. Surely SentosaCare should have had a plan to cover if they were unable to appear for work.

On another note, does anyone know why this was an Article 78 proceeding rather than the Defendants take an interlocutory appeal of the denial of the motion to dismiss?
1.17.2009 10:30pm
Ricardo (mail):
For all the people criticizing the nurses' actions, why don't you tomorrow move into a three-bedroom house, one-bathroom house with 13 other people and without phone and internet access, give up your car, take a cut in pay and see how long you last? The nurses appear to have been genuinely mistreated and as foreigners would have very limited practical recourse against their employer.

All these academic discussions about who can sue whom for breach of contract after the fact don't really matter to people with obviously little money who have to get a lawyer to take on their case pro bono from the Consulate. This whole case stinks to high heaven and I'm glad it's starting to get attention.

The depressing aspect of this is that Filipinos take it for granted that many of their countrymen will be exploited and mistreated when they sign with shady employment agencies to go to places like Dubai or Riyadh for work. They assume that they have some rights when they go to the U.S. though.
1.18.2009 2:21am
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

Nurses obviously cannot be held forever, but requiring some sort of reasonable notice and cooperation with a transition would be a minor inconvenience compared to being compellable to serve out an entire voyage in an age of slow-paced ships, which the Robertson court held could be done.


Completely different circumstances. How difficult do you think it was to get replacement sailors for a ship at sea in the 1800s? How difficult is it to find replacement nurses in New York in 2008?
1.18.2009 3:16am
Nifonged:
"I've never understood commenters who cut a sentence in half and then argue with the first part, even though the second part addresses their claim. Please re-read my post. The whole thing. Don't stop where you cut it off."

I read your post just fine. Where in your post did you say anything about an acceleration provision in the event of a MATERIAL breach? Here's what you wrote:

"The employer had already breached its contract with the nurses, so why would the nurses have to pay damages to the employer?"

Nothing about acceleration of termination rights on a material breach. Nada. Zilch. Just because there's a breach of contract doesn't mean there's an acceleration provision. Employment contracts are immaterially breached often, but such breach doesn't necessarily give rise to an acceleration of a termination right. How in the heck did the "second part" of your post address my point? Jeez, I'm generally agreeing with you (my post was a clarification of your point) and I get lip? Note also that I use the term "if" and that I shouldn't make "assumptions" (i.e. I'M NOT ARGUING WITH YOU)? Why do so many commenters think they know the exact terms of the contract in question? Any comment should be qualified that none us have read the darned thing.

BTW thanks to Oscar for his insightful post, apparently a lot of commenters' extincts about the nature of this unjust prosecution are validated.
1.18.2009 12:38pm
SPO:
Ricardo is right on the money.
1.18.2009 1:32pm
ReaderY:
Nobody is questioning the right of the nurses to leave their employer. The question is whether they could be required to give something like a a couple of days', a week's, or perhaps two weeks' notice.
1.18.2009 2:40pm
Nifonged:
" The question is whether they could be required to give something like a a couple of days', a week's, or perhaps two weeks' notice."

There's little question about it. Generally, if they are "at-will" employees they are at-will to leave provided they aren't subject to an employment agreement that states otherwise. Most exceptions to the "at-will" doctrine favor the employee (example: discrimination, retaliation) rather than the employer.

From the NY DOL website:

Q: Can an employee be fired without due cause?

A: Yes. New York State is an "employment-at-will," state. Without a contract restricting termination (such as a collective bargaining agreement) an employer has the right to discharge an employee at any time for any reason. This also protects the employee's right to resign. An employer may fire an employee for "no reason" - or even for a reason that might seem arbitrary and unfair -- and the employee is equally free to quit at any time without being required to explain or defend that decision.

There are a few exceptions to "employment-at-will." The most significant of these are laws, enforced by the New York State Division of Human Rights, which prohibit discrimination based upon race, creed, national origin, age, handicap, gender, sexual orientation or marital status.
1.18.2009 3:24pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Nobody is questioning the right of the nurses to leave their employer. The question is whether they could be required to give something like a a couple of days', a week's, or perhaps two weeks' notice.
No; the question is whether they can be criminally charged for not giving such notice. Except that the phrase "give notice" is a little misleading; it makes it sound like their alleged crime was not leaving a note behind when they quit. In fact, the point is that the prosecution was claiming that, on penalty of jail, the nurses could be compelled to work for an extra day, week, or two weeks beyond when they wanted to quit their jobs.

Stated that way, the answer is pretty obvious.
1.18.2009 3:53pm
Oren:
Oscar says:

(2)There was no contract between the home and the nurses. In fact, one of the frauds in recruiting them was that they signed a contact with a nursing home and then were made to work for an employment agency.

The Court said (page 2 of the pdf linked at the bottom):

To this end each of the nurses signed an employment contract with the specific nursing homes for which they had been selected to work.
1.18.2009 11:51pm
Oren:

Nobody is questioning the right of the nurses to leave their employer. The question is whether they could be required to give something like a a couple of days', a week's, or perhaps two weeks' notice.

Moreover, if such a clause exists, the remedy for violation wouldn't be forcing the employee to work against her will but, as usual, damages for the costs incurred.

I don't know about you guys, but at every decent job I've had, I accumulated critical knowledge that had to be disseminated to other employees before I left. The final 2 weeks consisted of documenting that knowledge and training the people that would do my job. I consider the obligation not to **** up your employers business on the way out to be part and parcel of being a professional.
1.19.2009 12:03am
SPO:
I am sure, Oren, you considered getting paid for your time an obligation on the part of the employer and the employer not doing to you what happened here.

In any event, Oren has gone from a legal obligation on the part of the employees to "Gee this is what I do, so they should have done it too".

Game. Set. Match.
1.19.2009 10:51am
ReaderY:
If the arguments being given for an absolute right to quit ignore the fact that everyone in the case, including the nurse's lawyer, seems to have agreed that New York law prohibited the nurses from quitting while on shift. If the arguments being given here are valid, why is is that law constitutional? Nobody seems to be making an argument against it.

But if nurses can constitutionally be compelled to complete their shift -- that is, compelled to work a few more hours - why can't they be compelled to work a few more days? Why does the difference between a couple of hours and a couple of days make a constitutional difference?

It may be that in this particular case, replacements could be found in hours so days weren't needed, and hence "reasonable" notice could be defined as hours. Indeed, the State's administrative law process seems to have determined that that was the case. It may be reasonable to require the criminal law, for which standards of proof and the presumption of proper conduct should presumably be higher, to defer to that determination and its findings when they found that the nurses had not violated nursing standards.

But this would seem to leave intact the basic argument that the state can compel "reasonable" notice and compel working during the "reasonable" notice period. It's just a debate about how long "reasonable" is. Presumably there would be other circumstances, perhaps more isolated locations or harder-to-find special skills, when hours could be demonstrated not to be enough, and days would be reasonable.

Can nurses leave in the middle of their shift? Is the law requiring them to complete their shift unconstitutional under the 13th Amendment? That would seem to be the real debate. Otherwise we're simply disagreeing on details, not the basic point.
1.19.2009 10:55am
SPO:
ReaderY, the answer is pretty simple--while on shift, they have a duty to the patients under their care. You know, it's kinda like a surgeon walking out in the middle of surgery.
1.19.2009 11:29am
Oren:

I am sure, Oren, you considered getting paid for your time an obligation on the part of the employer and the employer not doing to you what happened here.

In any event, Oren has gone from a legal obligation on the part of the employees to "Gee this is what I do, so they should have done it too".

Game. Set. Match.

No, I quoted a direct line from the opinion of the court that stated they had an employment contract, contrary to Oscar's explicit statement that no such contract exists. I'm eagerly awaiting his explanation of this discrepancy.

Moreover, the dispute was never that they didn't get paid, but that they didn't get paid properly for overtime/etc... That would make for a regular, not repudiatory, breach of contract (at least in my understanding of contract law -- I invite those much more experienced than I to correct me if I'm wrong about what constitutes repudiatory breach in an employment contract).

If the contract had such a provision (and no one has shown me the contents of the contract so I don't know), the nurses would be legally obligated to fulfill it.
1.19.2009 12:44pm
SPO:
Oren, I think my characterization of this quote:

"I don't know about you guys, but at every decent job I've had, I accumulated critical knowledge that had to be disseminated to other employees before I left. The final 2 weeks consisted of documenting that knowledge and training the people that would do my job. I consider the obligation not to **** up your employers business on the way out to be part and parcel of being a professional."

as going from legal obligation to they're just not good like me is pretty accurate.

In any event, when you don't pay your employees properly, they get to walk. That's a fact of life here in America--which is why, as I said earlier, banks almost always fund payroll of defaulting borrowers. And as I indicated earlier, Oren, perhaps you ought to think about the doctrine of implied conditions. It's an implied condition of me having to work for you that you pay me what you should.

Of course, a trivial error in pay may not justify walking off job if there is an otherwise enforceable 2 week notice provision in the contract, but I don't think anyone is arguing that is the case. Your "work now, sue for damages later" vision of contract law certainly does not comport with reality in the workaday world, and it runs afoul of the doctrine of implied conditions, which is certainly applicable here.

This is tiresome. Oren, I can explain it to you; I cannot understand it for you.
1.19.2009 5:41pm
Oscar Michelen (mail):
Let me explain the apparent discrepancy between my quote and the court's opinion. Ready: There is no discrepancy. In order to be allowed to import human beings to work as nurses in this country both US and Philippine law require that the employer swear under oath that there is a specific job at a specific facility or agency for the nurse. These nurses were recruited and brought here as "direct hires" meaning for a specific facility not an agency. "To this end each of the nurses signed an employment contract with the specific nursing homes for which they had been selected to work." And each of these nurses did sign such a contract but not with the nursing home where they ended up working. And in fact, they were not made employees of any nursing home, they were made employees of Prompt Nursing Employment Agency which is also controlled by Sentosa. That is why I said "There was no contract between the home and the nurses. In fact, one of the frauds in recruiting them was that they signed a contact with a nursing home and then were made to work for an employment agency." The nurses resigned from Avalon Nursing Home. None of them had a contact with Avalon Nursing Home. Avalon Nursing home is a completely separate corporate entity than the home they signed on for in the Philippines. More importantly, these nurses were tops in their class, they specifically chose to be recruited by Sentosa because they were promised to be direct hires - more pay, better benefits and more security - than being agency hires. Its the old bait and switch that is described in the Grapes of Wrath. Here is the sentence that follows what Oren quoted from the court about their being a contact:

When the nurses arrived in the United States, they learned that they would be working for an employment agency instead of the specific nursing homes they had signed contracts with, which allegedly is a lower paid and less stable form of employment.

OK, so there was no discrepancy, just some sentences taken out of context.

As to the issue of quitting mid-shift, of course there is a tremendous difference. First of all the regulations of the education department specifically say that quitting in mid-shift is patient abandonment. (Common sense says that too - can a train conductor jump off a train while it is en route and say "I quit." Of course not) Secondly the same regulations say that a nurses obligation to its patient ends when her shift ends and that is the obligation of the facility to make sure there is sufficient coverage. The NY state legislature just undid mandatory overtime (for unionized nurses remember the Sentosa nurses were not unionized)for this reason. Sorry for the long explanation but I felt it was necessary to make clear I did not misquote or misinterpret anything. I would be glad to address any other questions or issues folks on this forum may have.

Oscar Michelen
1.19.2009 10:14pm
Oren:
Thanks for the clarification.
1.20.2009 9:01am

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