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Case Name Olvera-Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp. IM-NC-0002
Docket / Court 1:05-cv-00559-NCT-PTS ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On December 23, 2002, a Mexican woman who worked in the U.S. as a non-immigrant guest worker filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, alleging that various labor recruiters engaged in sex discrimination against women who they were placing as non- ... read more >
On December 23, 2002, a Mexican woman who worked in the U.S. as a non-immigrant guest worker filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, alleging that various labor recruiters engaged in sex discrimination against women who they were placing as non-immigrant guest workers at various U.S. farms. Specifically, plaintiff alleged a systematic practice by recruiters of denying women the opportunity to obtain seasonal work (agricultural work, such as harvesting crops) under the H-2A visa guest worker program and instead deliberately steering them to less lucrative jobs in the H-2B visa guest worker program (work classified as nonagricultural, such as packing produce), in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state law. Attorneys with Legal Momentum, Farmworkers Legal Services of New York (FLSNY), and other social justice organizations and private firms represented the plaintiff. Plaintiff sought declaratory relief and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Defendants moved to dismiss, and/or for summary judgment on various grounds, including a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and argued that Title VII did not protect workers recruited outside of the U.S. In June 2004, the District Court (Chief Judge Norman A. Mordue) denied defendants' motions. Olvera-Morales v. Sterling Onions, Inc., 322 F. Supp. 2d 211 (N.D.N.Y. 2004).

On June 15, 2005, following the dismissal of the New York defendants, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The Court reconsidered the transfer order but reaffirmed its decision. Olvera-Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp., No. 5:02-CV-1589, 2006 WL 931752, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17923 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2006).

Plaintiff moved for class certification on February 15, 2007, proposing a class consisting of "[a]ll female H-2B workers recruited, procured or referred for employment by the Defendants or their agents, or whose H-2B employment opportunity was procured by Defendants or their agents, from 1999 to the present." On November 7, 2007, the District Court (Judge N. Carlton Tilley, Jr.) granted class certification. Olvera-Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp., 246 F.R.D. 250 (M.D.N.C. 2007).

On December 18, 2007, the Court (Judge Tilley) granted Defendants International Labor Management Corporation (ILMC) and Del-Al Associates summary judgment on Plaintiffs' Title VII claims. However, the Court denied summary judgment to the North Carolina Grower's Association (NCGA) on the Title VII claims. The Court also declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claims Plaintiffs asserted under New York Human Rights Law, dismissing them without prejudice. The Court issued its memorandum opinion on January 1, 2008. Olvera-Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp., No. 1:05CV00559, 2008 WL 53293 (M.D.N.C. Jan. 1, 2008). Both Plaintiffs and Defendant NGCA moved for reconsideration.

On February 20, 2008, the Court (Judge Tilley) granted Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and reinstated the Title VII claim against ILMC. The Court stated that it had dismissed ILMC as an "employment agency," when ILMC had only contested that it was not an "employer." The Court thus held that, as the issue of whether ILMC was not an "employment agency" was not before the Court at the summary judgment stage, it had erred in dismissing the claim. Olvera-Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp., No. 1:05CV00559, 2008 WL 506090 (M.D.N.C. Feb. 20, 2008).

On April 4, 2008, the Court (Judge Tilley) also granted Defendant NGCA's motion for reconsideration and dismissed the Title VII claim against it. The Court held that, since Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the time of her initial EEOC complaint, the "identity of interest" exception--which the Court had applied to Plaintiff--should actually not apply to her on summary judgment. Morales v. Int'l Labor Mgmt. Corp., No. 1:05CV00559, 2008 WL 939180 (M.D.N.C. Apr. 4, 2008).

On April 16, 2008, less than a week before trial was scheduled to begin, the parties notified the Court that they had reached a settlement. The settlement called for Defendants to provide data to Plaintiffs' counsel for three years on the H-2A and H-2B workers hired by Defendants, for Defendants to adopt anti-sex discrimination policies and implement training to that effect, and for $100,000 in settlement funds.

On August 4, 2009, the Court granted the parties' motion for final approval of the class settlement.

Dan Dalton - 12/28/2007
Dan Whitman - 03/28/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Immigration
Employment
Temporary foreign workers program
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
State law
Defendant(s) Del-Al Associates, Inc.
International Labor Management Corporation, Inc.
North Carolina Growers Association, Inc.
Sterling Onions, Inc.
Zappala Enterprises, Inc.
Zappala Farms, LLC
Zappala Holding Company, LLC
Plaintiff Description All female H-2B workers recruited, procured or referred for employment by the Defendants or their agents, or whose H-2B employment opportunity was procured by Defendants or their agents, from 1999 to the present.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 2009 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2009
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)
5:02-cv-01589-NAM-DEP (N.D.N.Y.) 07/02/2007
IM-NC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:05-cv-00559-NCT-PTS (M.D. N.C.) 08/04/2009
IM-NC-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 12/23/2002
IM-NC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum-Decision & Order 06/01/2004 (322 F.Supp.2d 211) (N.D.N.Y.)
IM-NC-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum-Decision and Order 04/10/2006 (2006 WL 931752) (N.D.N.Y.)
IM-NC-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 11/07/2007 (246 F.R.D. 250) (M.D. N.C.)
IM-NC-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Opinion Granting and Denying Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment 01/01/2008 (2008 WL 53293) (M.D. N.C.)
IM-NC-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration 02/20/2008 (2008 WL 506090) (M.D. N.C.)
IM-NC-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order Granting Defendant N.C. Growers' Ass'n's Motion for Reconsideration 04/04/2008 (2008 WL 939180) (M.D. N.C.)
IM-NC-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 08/22/2008
IM-NC-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Mordue, Norman A. (N.D.N.Y.)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000
Peebles, David E. (N.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
IM-NC-0002-9000
Sharp, Paul Trevor (M.D. N.C.) [Magistrate]
IM-NC-0002-9001
Tilley, Norwood Carlton Jr. (M.D. N.C.)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0005 | IM-NC-0002-0006 | IM-NC-0002-0007 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boston, Sheila S. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0008
Brooke, Carol (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0008 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Brown, Jennifer Kay (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0001 | IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-0008 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Casey, Timothy Joseph (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-0008 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Christensen, Andrea S. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Kaufman, Neil S. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-9000
McNulty, Carlene Marie (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Solow, Andrew Keith (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Stillufsen, Andrew D. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-0008 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Weiser, Wendy R. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0001 | IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-9000
Werner, Daniel (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0001 | IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Yarkon, Rachel S. (New Jersey)
IM-NC-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, Nathan Bowen (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Debski, Ryan M. (West Virginia)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Fuller, Gary L. (Texas)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Loftis, William Randolph Jr. (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0008 | IM-NC-0002-9001
McCann, John T. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Patton, Jeffrey Dean (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Piekarski, Virginia A. (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-9000
Shea, Robin E. (North Carolina)
IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Viswanathan, Subhash (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-0003 | IM-NC-0002-0004 | IM-NC-0002-9000 | IM-NC-0002-9001
Wallen, Joseph E. (New York)
IM-NC-0002-0002 | IM-NC-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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