After a three week trial a federal jury has determined that a group of 25 students in a graduate education program are entitled to wages for the clinical portion of the program.
The students were enrolled in the Master of Nurse Anesthesia program at Wolford College, LLC, a for-profit college located in Naples, Florida. Wolford College is owned by some of the same physicians who also own Collier Anesthesia, P.A., which is where the students were assigned to work during the clinical portion of their education to become certified registered nurse anesthetists.
The students were represented by Ryan Barack and Michelle Nadeau of Kwall Barack Nadeau PLLC of Clearwater, FL and Bradley Rothman of Weldon & Rothman, PL of Naples, Florida.
The jury found that the anesthesia practice and the college implemented the internship program to primarily benefit the businesses and not the students. Consequently, the students were entitled to be paid wages for the work they performed.
“It has been a long road but we are very happy that the jury vindicated our position. If the primary beneficiary of an internship program isn’t the students, then the students should be paid for their labor,” said Ryan Barack, one of the attorneys for the students.
The case is Schumann et al v. Collier Anesthesia, P.A. et al., Case No. 2:12-cv-00347-JES-CM (Middle District of Florida), which was originally filed June 29, 2012. You can view the Verdict Form here.