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Federal lawsuits filed after abrupt closure of Laser Spine Institute

Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 16:17:52-05

Several former employees have filed lawsuits after the abrupt closure of Laser Spine Institute.

ABC Action News was first to report on the Tampa-based company's bombshell announcement Friday, immediately shutting down and leaving employees and patients in the dark.

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Like so many of his former co-workers, Nick Spielberger is now trying to figure out what's next. The timing of the layoff couldn't be worse. His wife was also laid off a couple weeks ago.

"They want this to be a dream that they’re going to wake up from and unfortunately that’s not what it is," said Sielberger.

Three former employees have already filed lawsuits in federal court, claiming Laser Spine Institute violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act.

According to one lawsuit, filed on behalf of Deanna Ali, "Defendant failed to give the Plaintiff and the other Class members at least 60 days’ advance notice of their termination. As a consequence, the Plaintiff and the other Class members are entitled under the WARN Act to recover from the Defendant their respective compensation and benefits for 60 days, no part of which has been paid."

Jessica Crane is an attorney affiliated with Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. and Kwall Barack Nadeau PLLC to represent former employees of Laser Spine Institute.

"Hundreds of people work there and they need to recapture their lives and move on, find other jobs," said Crane. "There’s even pregnant women who have been laid off and they have the right to notice so they can plan their lives, too."

Employees tell ABC Action News, they received the company's WARN notice Monday, three days after the layoff announcement. It states in part, "We apologize we could not provide you with more advance notice."

"If I had gotten a 60-day notice, like they should have, I could have at least been prepared for that, gotten another job in the works, something," said Spielberger.

Kathleen Donald, a spokesperson for Laser Spine Institute, sent the following statement to ABC Action News:

The sudden closing of Laser Spine Institute was an unfortunate and heartbreaking situation. I’m not surprised that some employees may not have remembered all of the information that was shared on Friday. Employees will be paid for the hours they’ve worked and their benefits will be extended according to our normal separation policy. The company’s position is that it’s fully complied with the obligations under the WARN act. The WARN act notices that have been filed, are on file with the state of Florida. Laser Spine Institute intends to defend itself against these allegations.
Laser Spine Institute