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Case Name Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce IM-GA-0006
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-02000-JEC ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On April 20, 2006, four migrant and seasonal agricultural laborers who worked for Del Monte Fresh Produce's Georgia farms at various times during the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 harvest seasons filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of the ... read more >
On April 20, 2006, four migrant and seasonal agricultural laborers who worked for Del Monte Fresh Produce's Georgia farms at various times during the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 harvest seasons filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219 and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871. The lawsuit was filed against Del Monte Fresh Product (Southeast) ("DMSE") and its parent company, Del Monte Fresh Product, NA ("DMNA"). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants: 1) failed to pay the promised wage rate; 2) failed to reimburse plaintiffs for costs that they incurred in order to work on defendants' farms; and 3) violated federal employment laws. Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Shortly after the suit was filed, the parties filed a joint motion to have the case transferred to the Northern District of Georgia. On June 30, 2006, the District Court (Judge Donald L. Graham) entered an order granting the motion to transfer. However, that same day, the Court also signed an order denying the motion, indicating that the request to have the case transferred was withdrawn. Despite these conflicting orders, the case was transferred and assigned docket number 06-cv-02000-JEC in the Northern District of Georgia.

The Del Monte defendants contended that they had not employed any of the plaintiffs and therefore had no liability in the case. Del Monte maintained that the farm labor contractors who recruited plaintiffs were their true employers, not Del Monte.

In order to resolve the issue of defendants' status as plaintiffs' employer, the District Court (Julie E. Carnes) entered a bifurcated discovery schedule, with discovery first concentrating on the employer issue. Numerous discovery disputes arose, which were ultimately resolved by the Court in May, 2007. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Southeast), Inc., 2007 WL 1500269 (N.D.Ga. 2007). By separate order, the Court, with agreement by the parties, denied without prejudice plaintiffs' motions for class and collective action certification, until the court decided the employer issue.

Following the initial discovery period, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the employment issue. On March 19, 2008, the Court dismissed plaintiffs' claims against DMNA on the grounds that the parent corporation did not employ plaintiffs, but denied summary judgment to DMSE on the FLSA and AWPA claims. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Se.), Inc., No. 1:06-CV-2000-JEC, 2008 WL 754452 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 19, 2008).

On April 10, 2008, plaintiffs renewed their motion for class certification on behalf of two classes of workers: 1) guest-workers recruited from Mexico pursuant to the temporary agricultural work visa program, known as the "H-2A program" and 2) non-H-2A migrant and seasonal agricultural workers recruited from within the U.S. Plaintiffs also sought certification of a collective action to pursue their FLSA claims. The Court denied class certification for the first two classes but granted certification of the FLSA collective action. Plaintiffs appealed this decision, but lost in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Charles Wilson, Judge William Pryor, and Judge Emmett Cox), which on January 1, 2010, affirmed the district court's denial of class certifications. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (SE), Inc., 354 F. App'x 422 (11th Cir. 2009).

While the appeal was pending, the parties attempted to proceed with merits discovery in the district court. Discovery stalled, however, due to a number of disputes. On December 10, 2009, the District Court granted: (1) plaintiffs' motion for leave to file their third amended complaint, (2) plaintiffs' motion for joinder to add 52 opt-ins as individual plaintiffs on Counts I and II of the complaint, and (3) the parties' joint motion for extension of time to complete discovery. The court denied: (1) plaintiffs' motion to intervene, (2) plaintiffs' motion for a protective order to limit discovery to a small sample of the opt-in plaintiffs, (3) defendants' motion to stay discovery, and (4) plaintiffs' motion for a scheduling conference. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Se.), Inc., No. 1:06-CV-2000-JEC, 2009 WL 4801357 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 10, 2009).

On April 15, 2010, the District Court approved a confidential settlement agreement with 63 workers. The court approved of an undisclosed settlement amount to be paid to the workers as well as payment of attorneys' fees and costs. Defendants did not admit liability.

Dan Dalton - 09/24/2007
Carlos Torres - 06/30/2013
Jennifer Bronson - 10/22/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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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) Del Monte Fresh Produce
Plaintiff Description Seasonal migrant workers who worked for Del Monte in Georgia from 2003-2006, including 1) H-2A guest-workers recruited from Mexico; and 2) non- H-2A migrant and seasonal agricultural workers recruited from within the United States.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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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)
1:06-cv-21015-DLG (S.D. Fla.) 08/28/2006
IM-GA-0006-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:06-cv-02000-JEC (N.D. Ga.) 05/21/2010
IM-GA-0006-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 04/20/2006
IM-GA-0006-0018 PDF | Detail
First Amended Complaint - Class Action 09/21/2006
IM-GA-0006-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion 05/18/2007 (2007 WL 1500269) (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/29/2007 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0002 PDF | Detail
Order and Opinion 03/18/2008 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion to Vacate Erroneous Judgment and for Clarification and Correction of Record 03/26/2008
IM-GA-0006-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion 03/03/2009 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint 05/07/2009
IM-GA-0006-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/12/2009 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0017 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion 12/10/2009 (2009 WL 4801357) (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0020 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
USCA Judgment 01/06/2010 (354 Fed.Appx. 422)
IM-GA-0006-0016 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Settlement Agreement, Granting Joinder, and Dismissing Claims with Prejudice 04/15/2010 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice 05/04/2010 (N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Carnes, Julie E. (Eleventh Circuit, N.D. Ga.)
IM-GA-0006-0002 | IM-GA-0006-0003 | IM-GA-0006-0005 | IM-GA-0006-0008 | IM-GA-0006-0009 | IM-GA-0006-0015 | IM-GA-0006-0017 | IM-GA-0006-0020 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Cox, Emmett Ripley (Eleventh Circuit, S.D. Ala.)
IM-GA-0006-0016
Graham, Donald L. (S.D. Fla.)
IM-GA-0006-9001
Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Eleventh Circuit)
IM-GA-0006-0016
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit) [Magistrate]
IM-GA-0006-0016
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Appley, Elizabeth Joan (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-0007 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Bauer, Mary C. (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Benjamin-Gomez, Arlen S (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-9000
Bruner, Kelley McNair (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Dees, Morris S. Jr. (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-9000
Graunke, Kristi L (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Graunke, Kristi L. (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-0006 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Knoepp, James Melvin (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-9000
Schell, Gregory Scott (Florida)
IM-GA-0006-0006 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Turner, Andrew Hess (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-0007 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Latesa K (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Kalk, Jacqueline Elise (Minnesota)
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Reese, Kelly D (Alabama)
IM-GA-0006-9000
Strawn, Bradley E (Georgia)
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Wilson, Courtney Blair (Florida)
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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