University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name De Leon-Granados v. Eller And Sons Trees, Inc. IM-GA-0005
Docket / Court 05-1473-CV-CC-1 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On June 5, 2005, attorneys with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Virginia Justice Center for Farm and Immigrant Workers filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a group of over 1500 migrant workers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ... read more >
On June 5, 2005, attorneys with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Virginia Justice Center for Farm and Immigrant Workers filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a group of over 1500 migrant workers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against their former employer, Eller and Sons Trees, Inc. Plaintiffs, who were from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, were admitted to the U.S. under the H-2B temporary farm worker program. They alleged that they planted trees and performed other forestry related work for the defendant, who took advantage of them by grossly underpaying them in violation of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The District Court (Judge Clarence Cooper) granted class certification by order dated September 28, 2006. Leon-Granados v. Eller and Sons Trees, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73781 (N.D.Ga. Sept. 28, 2006). The same day, Judge Cooper issued a discovery order in which he held that the applicable statute of limitations for the AWPA claims was six years. Leon-Granados v. Eller and Sons Trees, Inc., 452 F.Supp.2d 1282 (N.D.Ga. 2006) Defendants appealed the certification order. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the order granting class certification. De Leon-Granados v. Eller and Sons Trees, Inc. 2007 WL 2456206 (11th Cir. Aug. 31, 2007).

While the case was on appeal, discovery continued, as the District Court refused defendants' request to stay the case proceedings. On November 15, 2007, plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment on one of their multiple claims under the FLSA-the claim for reimbursement of passport, visa and travel expenses incurred in coming to work for Defendants. On October 7, 2008, the court granted Plaintiffs' partial summary judgment motion. De Leon-Granados v. Eller & Sons Trees, Inc., 581 F. Supp. 2d 1295, 1313 (N.D. Ga. 2008). The court found that Eller and Sons failed to reimburse their guest workers for travel and visa expenses incurred when they came to the United States to work for the company, failed to provide them all the hours of work they were promised in their H-2B work contracts, and failed to maintain accurate records of the hours they worked. Plaintiffs were awarded $57,001.28 in damages (after court granted plaintiffs' motion to correct summary judgment order).

On October 29, 2012, the court granted plaintiffs' final judgment with respect to the claims brought by the plaintiffs and other class members pursuant to the AWPA. The court ordered damages in excess of $11 million.

Dan Dalton - 11/16/2007
Jennifer Bronson - 12/13/2013


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Immigration
Employer sanctions
Employment
Temporary foreign workers program
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
Defendant(s) Eller And Sons Trees, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Migrant workers who were employed by Eller and Sons Trees, Inc. at various times from June 1999 through June 2005 under the H-2B temporary farm worker program.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:05-cv-01473-CC (N.D. Ga.) 10/29/2012
IM-GA-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint - Class Action 01/31/2006
IM-GA-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint 03/29/2006
IM-GA-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Discovery Order 09/28/2006 (452 F.Supp.2d 1282) (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0005-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 09/28/2006 (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 73781) (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0005-0009 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Appellate Opinion 08/31/2007 (497 F.3d 1214)
IM-GA-0005-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Untitled 06/19/2009
IM-GA-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/29/2009 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0005-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/28/2012 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0005-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment 10/29/2012
IM-GA-0005-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Black, Susan Harrell (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
IM-GA-0005-0004
Cooper, Clarence (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0006 | IM-GA-0005-0007 | IM-GA-0005-0008 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Dubina, Joel Fredrick (Eleventh Circuit, M.D. Ala.) [Magistrate]
IM-GA-0005-0004
Restani, Jane A. ()
IM-GA-0005-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bauer, Mary C. (Alabama)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0004 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Bruner, Kelley McNair (Alabama)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Freilich, Tim A (Virginia)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Gulotta, Alex Ross (Virginia)
IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Knoepp, James Melvin (Virginia)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0004 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Spears, George Brian (Georgia)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0004 | IM-GA-0005-0005 | IM-GA-0005-0005 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Trodden, Erin Margaret (Virginia)
IM-GA-0005-9000
Turner, Andrew Hess (Alabama)
IM-GA-0005-0001 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0004 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Oliver, Paul (Georgia)
IM-GA-0005-9000
Stine, James Larry (Georgia)
IM-GA-0005-0002 | IM-GA-0005-0003 | IM-GA-0005-0004 | IM-GA-0005-0009 | IM-GA-0005-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -