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Case Name Hugo Martin Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry Inc. IM-LA-0008
Docket / Court 2:05-cv-01355-LMA-DEK ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On April 7, 2005, attorneys with the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of over 300 predominantly Guatemalan and Mexican ... read more >
On April 7, 2005, attorneys with the Immigrant Justice Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of over 300 predominantly Guatemalan and Mexican migrant workers, admitted to work in the U.S. pursuant to H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program, who planted trees and performed other forestry-related activities for Express Forestry Inc. Plaintiffs alleged that Express Forestry Inc. violated their rights secured by the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act ("AWPA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871, and the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219. They sought restitution of unpaid wages, an award of money damages, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.

Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. That motion was denied. Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry, Inc., 2005 WL 3543722, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36871 (E.D.La. Oct 06, 2005).

Plaintiffs alleged that after the lawsuit was filed, agents of the defendants harassed and threatened potential plaintiffs and their families in villages in Guatemala. Plaintiffs sought a court order to prevent such conduct. The Court (Magistrate Judge Daniel E. Knowles, III) issued an emergency protective order enjoining defendants and their agents from unilateral communications with plaintiffs, opt-in plaintiffs, potential plaintiffs, and/or their families regarding the litigation. Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry, Inc., 2006 WL 197030, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2510 (E.D.La. Jan 24, 2006). The District Court (Judge Lance M. Africk) then granted plaintiffs' motion for certification of class action and for conditional certification of FLSA collective action. Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry, Inc., 233 F.R.D. 472 (E.D.La. Jan 30, 2006).

Discovery followed and the Court was called upon to resolve several discovery disputes and requests for discovery sanctions against the defendants. See Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry, Inc., 2006 WL 2349459, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56178 (E.D.La. Aug 11, 2006) and Recinos-Recinos v. Express Forestry, Inc., 2006 WL 3388485, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84583 (E.D.La. Nov 20, 2006). After discovery, the parties engaged in settlement negotiations.

A settlement agreement was reached and approved by the District Court (Judge Lance M Africk) on May 11, 2007. The Agreement called for the payment of $220,000, to be paid out to class members in accordance with an agreed distribution scheme. Defendants also agreed to injunctive relief in the form of various policy changes aimed at preventing further violations of rights of migrant and seasonal workers. Plaintiffs' attorneys agreed to waive all fees and costs they incurred prior to the settlement. If enforcement of the settlement terms became necessary, defendants would be liable for fees incurred by plaintiffs in any successful enforcement proceedings.

Dan Dalton - 12/10/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Employer sanctions
Employment
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) Express Forestry Inc.
Plaintiff Description Over 300 predominantly Guatemalan and Mexican migrant workers, admitted to work in the U.S. pursuant to H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program, who planted trees and performed other forestry-related activities for Express Forestry Inc.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
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)
2:05-cv-01355-LMA-DEK (E.D. La.) 05/11/2006
IM-LA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order & Reasons 10/06/2005 (2005 WL 3543722) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0008-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum Opinion & Order 01/24/2006 (2006 WL 197030) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0008-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Order & Reasons 01/30/2006 (233 F.R.D. 472) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order & Reasons 08/11/2006 (2006 WL 2349459 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 84583) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order & Reasons 11/20/2006 (2006 WL 3388485) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0008-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Proposed Settlement Agreement 01/01/2007
IM-LA-0008-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Africk, Lance M. (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Knowles, Daniel E. III (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0008-0001 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Gerharz, Barry James (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Graunke, Kristi L (Alabama)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Linares, Hector A. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Turner, Andrew Hess (Alabama)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Dorminey, Elizabeth K. (Georgia)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Mallery, Mark N. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Moore, Christopher E. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Oliver, Paul (Georgia)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Passmore, Walter J. (Texas)
IM-LA-0008-9000
Stine, James Larry (Georgia)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-0006 | IM-LA-0008-9000
White, Christine M. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0008-0003 | IM-LA-0008-0004 | IM-LA-0008-0005 | IM-LA-0008-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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