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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Achari v. Signal International, LLC IM-LA-0012
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-06218 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Immigration
Special Collection Signal International Guest Worker Cases
Case Summary
On May 21, 2013, 33 Indian guestworkers filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, for harm suffered as a result of an allegedly fraudulent and coercive employment recruitment scheme. The case was filed after District Judge Jay Zainey ... read more >
On May 21, 2013, 33 Indian guestworkers filed this suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, for harm suffered as a result of an allegedly fraudulent and coercive employment recruitment scheme. The case was filed after District Judge Jay Zainey denied class certification on January 3, 2012 in IM-LA-0010.

Plaintiffs were brought to the United States to provide labor and services to Defendant Signal International, a company in the business of providing repairs to offshore oil rigs that is based in Pascagoula, Mississippi and has operations in the Gulf Coast region. The complaint alleges that Plaintiffs paid Signal's recruiters as much as $25,000 for travel, visa, and recruitment fees, but upon arrival in the United States found out they would not receive the green cards promised to them. Instead, Plaintiffs were allegedly forced to pay additional fees to live in racially segregated labor camps ($1050 per month), and were subject to squalid living conditions and threats of both legal and physical harm if they complained about the conditions or decided not to provide labor.

The amended complaint, filed on behalf of 47 guestworkers, alleges violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (18 U.S.C. §1589 (forced labor) and 18 U.S.C. §1590 (trafficking)) and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981), as well as claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. Plaintiffs are represented by private law firms.

In October 2013, the court (Chief United States District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr.) consolidated this case and IM-LA-0013, IM-LA-0014, and IM-LA-0015 and then transferred the consolidated case to the Eastern District of Louisiana.

On July 12, 2014, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied Signal's motion to transfer all 12 of the cases pending against it to the Eastern District of Louisiana.

On July 13, 2014,the court (District Judge Susie Morgan) issued an opinion denying Signal's Motion for Partial Dismissal and finding that the plaintiffs had sufficiently pled factual
allegations to support their claims. On July 14, 2014, Judge Morgan issued an opinion denying the J&M Defendants' Motion to Dismiss finding that the plaintiffs had sufficiently pled factual allegations to support their claims.

On October 14, 2014, the court (District Judge Susie Morgan) ordered Signal to refine its subpoena for bank records of the Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs argued that the request was not reasonably tailored so as to result in the discovery of admissible evidence, but the court disagreed since the Plaintiffs were alleging financial coercion. However, the court found that since the litigation was in a late stage, Signal should be required to narrow its request from all affected persons to the named plaintiffs in the consolidated cases.

On June 4, 2015, Judge Morgan issued an opinion determining whose law would govern the Plaintiffs' common law claims. The court found that "the law of India governs Plaintiffs' claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and the law of Mississippi governs Plaintiffs' claims of breach of contract and agency."

A one-month jury trial is scheduled for July 6, 2015.

Anna Dimon - 04/18/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Discipline
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Bathing and hygiene
Disparate Treatment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Housing
Loss or damage to property
Racial segregation
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Immigration
Employer sanctions
Employment
Immigration lawyers
Temporary foreign workers program
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
National Origin/Ethnicity
Indian
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Dewan Consultants
Global Resources, Inc
Gulf Coast Immigration Law Center
Malvern C. Burnett
Michael Pol
Sachi Dewan
Signal International
Plaintiff Description 47 Indian guestworkers recruited to work in the U.S.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing IM-LA-0010 : David v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011 : Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0013 : Chakkiyattil v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014 : Krishnakutty v. Signal International LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0015 : Devassy v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0016 : Singh v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-TX-0035 : Samuel v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0036 : Joseph v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0037 : Meganathan v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0038 : Kambala v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0039 : Marimuthu v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. Tex.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Insurer Must Pay $100.5 Million in Redlining Case
The New York Times
Written: Oct. 27, 1998
By: Joseph B. Treaster
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Nationwide Settles Virginia Redlining Suit
Property Casualty 360
Written: May. 06, 2000
By: Amanda Levin
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  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)
2:13-cv-06218-SM-DEK (E.D. La.) 06/19/2015
IM-LA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand 05/21/2013
IM-LA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Consolidating Cases and Transferring to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana 10/18/2013 (2013 WL 5705660 / 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 150233) (S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint and Jury Demand 03/03/2014
IM-LA-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons 08/13/2014 (2014 WL 5489359) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Transfer 08/13/2014 (38 F.Supp.3d 1390) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons 08/14/2014 (2014 WL 5795238) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | External Link | Detail
Order 09/16/2014 (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons 10/14/2014 (37 F.Supp.3d 836) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/04/2015 (2015 WL 3603944) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.)
IM-LA-0012-0007
Guirola, Louis Jr. (S.D. Miss., W.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0012-0002
Heyburn, John Gilpin II (W.D. Ky.)
IM-LA-0012-0007
Knowles, Daniel E. III (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0012-0005
Morgan, Donna Sue (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0004 | IM-LA-0012-0006 | IM-LA-0012-0009 | IM-LA-0012-0010 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Proctor, R. David (N.D. Ala.)
IM-LA-0012-0007
Rendell, Marjorie O. (E.D. Pa., Third Circuit)
IM-LA-0012-0007
Vance, Sarah S. (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abdelkarim, Mostafa M. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Adams, Daniel D. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Aiello, Justin P. (Florida)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Alshak, Ryan J. (California)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Baker, H. Gregory (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Batchelor, Craig Alan (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Beaudette, Katelyn M. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Beckles, Tricia (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Bhargava, Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Blechman, Michael (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Blum, Ronald G. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Bullerman, Michael S. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Byrd, Sibyl C. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0012-0001
Campbell, Benton J (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Capasso, Daniele J. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Case, Andrew (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Chandrika, Sarah C. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Chatham, Asra A. (Florida)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Chen, Eric B. (California)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Churchill, Mark H. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Clark, Scott W. (Texas)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Colby, Eben P. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Copley, Steven W. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Diaz, Sadie Holzman (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Greenberg, Jennifer (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Grimsal, A. Gregory (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Harris, Christopher R. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Howard, Jacob W. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0012-0001
Johnson, Danielle E. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Kanny, Matthew P. (California)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Kline, Robert M. (Florida)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Krumm, Marissa C. (Florida)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Low, John C. (Texas)
IM-LA-0012-9000
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Mehta, Mona (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Parver, Jane W. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Raptis, Stephen T. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rheinheimer, Christopher A. (California)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rosenbaum, Yonina (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rostoker, Jessica D. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rowen, Zachary L. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rowland, Elizabeth C. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Ruthberg, Miles N. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Safane, Aaron M. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-0001 | IM-LA-0012-0003 | IM-LA-0012-9000
Salerno, Matthew S. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Sherman, Randolph S. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Simshauser, Peter (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Spears, Steven G. (Texas)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Sprague, Ashley M. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Stewart, Meredith B. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Szivos, Thomas J. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Taffet, Eric. L. (New York)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Uhlemann, Justin B. (Florida)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Walker, Jacob A. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Walsh, Michael R. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bollman, Patricia Anne F. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Buras, Daniel Edwin Jr. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Carlisle, Arthur D. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Cerniglia, Timothy W. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Cornblatt, James L. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Gianna, Dominic Joseph (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Hangartner, Erin Casey (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Hasenkampf, Mitchell P. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Keller, Robert Louis (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Maney, Kevin P. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Masur Davis, Lauren C. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rabbani, Elham (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Roux, Brian C. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Rydberg, Lance R. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Shapiro, Stephen H. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Ungar, Hal D. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Weinberger, Alan Dean (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0012-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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