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US Department of Labor sues local business two years after Investigative Unit reports

1 year 3 months 3 weeks ago Monday, January 30 2023 Jan 30, 2023 January 30, 2023 4:30 PM January 30, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A company that was the subject of WBRZ Investigative Unit reports focused on a failure to route employee money to insurance coverage is now facing legal action initiated by the US Department of Labor.

A court filing last week shows that the federal agency is targeting Kelly Sills and the Coastal Bridge Company -- a legal move that follows a lawsuit filed previously by several company workers.

The new case includes allegations similar to those previously reported by the Investigative Unit.

The Department of Labor says Sills and his company failed to forward employee contributions to health insurance providers (Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, Ameritas and Guardian). That, the lawsuit notes, resulted in "at least 81 Plan participants (having) health insurance claims denied."

The suit seeks a Court order forcing Sills to cover losses related to the misdirection of employee funds, including payment of all uncovered medical claims.

In 2021, employees filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Coastal Bridge had deducted health insurance premiums from their pay without sending that money in for actual insurance coverage.

Some workers learned they were uninsured when they faced costly medical procedures.

"It's just unbelievable," said Gregory Miller, an attorney for the former employees. "You would think even if your company is struggling, one of the first things you'd pay would be your employees' health insurance premiums. I've never seen anything like it."

A defense motion to dismiss the employees' lawsuit was rejected by the Court in November 2022. That case remains active in the Middle District of Louisiana.


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