Three employees who claim Consolidated Nuclear Security illegally withheld more than $10 million in wages from a big group of employees need new lawyers after their attorneys quit last week, citing a conflict of interest.

“Due to a conflict that has arisen, Plaintiffs’ counsel, attorneys [Justin] Gilbert and [Ron] Rayson, have no choice but seek to withdraw,” the pair wrote in a motion dated Jan. 13. 

To give their new lawyers time to get up to speed on the case, in which depositions and discovery are substantially complete, according to last week’s motion, Plaintiffs James Myers, James Young and Douglas Messerli asked the U.S. District Court for Eastern Tennessee for a 60-day extension of looming deadlines in their lawsuit, which they filed in 2020.

The plaintiffs allege that the Bechtel National-led Consolidated Nuclear Security, manager of the Y-12 National Security Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, in 2017 withheld a paycheck’s worth of pay from thousands of salaried employees after shifting to a biweekly pay schedule in 2015 from a monthly pay schedule.

The contractor, meanwhile, denied that it withheld wages and said the plaintiffs erred in their calculations.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration owns the Y-12 National Security Complex. There, the agency makes and maintains the uranium-fueled secondary stages of nuclear weapons. As components, these stages are sometimes called canned subassemblies.