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Case Name Krishnakutty v. Signal International LLC IM-LA-0014
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-06220 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Immigration
Special Collection Signal International Guest Worker Cases
Case Summary
On August 7, 2013, 2 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 that began in the fall of 2003. The plaintiffs filed this suit ... read more >
On August 7, 2013, 2 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 that began in the fall of 2003. The plaintiffs filed this suit after District Judge Jay Zainey denied class certification on January 3, 2012 in a related case, Achari v. Signal International, LLC.

The plaintiffs were allegedly brought into the United States to provide labor and services to Defendant Signal International, a company based in Pascagoula, Mississippi with operations in the Gulf Coast region, in the business of providing repairs to offshore oil rigs. The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs paid Signal's recruiters approximately $15,000 for recruitment fees, as well as additional fees for skills and medical tests. The plaintiffs also named Malvern C. Burnett and Sachin Dewan, a New Orleans lawyer and India-based recruiter, respectively, as co-defendants for their involvement in the scheme. Upon arrival in the United States, the plaintiffs discovered that they would not receive the green cards promised to them. Instead, they were forced to pay additional fees to live in racially segregated labor camps ($1050 per month) under constant supervision of private security guards, and were subject to threats of both legal and physical harm if they complained about the conditions or decided not to provide labor.

The complaint alleges violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (18 U.S.C. §1589 (forced labor) and 18 U.S.C. §1590 (trafficking)), Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. §1962(c) and (d)), Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981), Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. §1985), the Thirteenth Amendment, as well as claims for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of confidential relationship. Plaintiffs are represented by private law firms.

In October 2013, the court (Chief United States District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr.) transferred this case and Achari, Chakkiyattil v. Signal International, LLC, Devassy v. Signal International, LLC to the Eastern District of Louisiana. On October 24, 2013, the case was assigned to Judge Susie Morgan and consolidated with the Achari case for discovery purposes. In April 2014, the court also consolidated Singh v. Signal International, LLC. A jury trial in the Krishnakutty case was set for the week of Monday, February 29, 2016.

During the discovery process, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a protective order on January 17, 2014, to make information regarding the plaintiffs’ immigration status and the identity of their family members undiscoverable. Shortly after, Signal and Burnett moved for dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and Burnett additionally moved for judgment on the pleadings. In August 2014, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a protective order and denied the defendants’ motions for judgment and dismissal.

Signal subsequently moved for partial summary judgment concerning the plaintiffs’ choice of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 on the grounds that India and Mississippi should govern the various claims instead of Louisiana law. The court granted the motion on June 4, 2015, regarding the plaintiff’s claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract.

During the end of 2015, the parties began to enter into settlement negotiations, and on October 2, 2015, the Achari, Chakkiyattil, and Burnett parties filed a joint motion for dismissal contingent on them reaching a final agreement. In December 2015, the Achari and Dewan parties filed another joint motion for conditional dismissal, and the court vacated the scheduled pre-trial and trial dates for all of the parties.

As of March 27, 2016, negotiations remain ongoing.

Anna Dimon - 05/12/2015
Allison Hight - 03/27/2016


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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
Housing
Loss or damage to property
Racial segregation
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 42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) Dewan Consultants
Global Resources, Inc.
Gulf Coast Immigration Law Center
Indo-Amerisoft, L.L.C.
Kurella Rao
Law Offices of Malvern C. Burnett
Malvern C. Burnett
Sachin Dewan
Signal International, Inc.
Plaintiff Description 2 Indian guestworkers fraudulently 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-0012 : Achari v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
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-06220-SM-DEK (E.D. La.) 10/24/2013
IM-LA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:13-cv-6218 (E.D. La.) 02/19/2016
IM-LA-0014-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/07/2013
IM-LA-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
RICO Case Statement 08/07/2013
IM-LA-0014-0002.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 (S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0014-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Protective Order 02/17/2014 (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0005.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-0014-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order and Reasons 08/14/2014 (2014 WL 5493269) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order 09/16/2014 (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0008.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-0014-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Summary of Claims in First Amended Complaint 03/23/2015
IM-LA-0014-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/04/2015 (2015 WL 3603944) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons 12/01/2015 (2015 WL 7777978) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Guirola, Louis Jr. (W.D. Tex., S.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0014-0003
Knowles, Daniel E. III (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0014-0008 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Morgan, Donna Sue (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0014-0005 | IM-LA-0014-0006 | IM-LA-0014-0007 | IM-LA-0014-0009 | IM-LA-0014-0011 | IM-LA-0014-0012 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abdelkarim, Mostafa M. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Adams, Daniel D. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Aiello, Justin P. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Alshak, Ryan J. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Arvelo, Jose E. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Asher, Joshua D. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Baker, H. Gregory (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Batchelor, Craig Alan (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Beaudette, Katelyn M. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Beckles, Tricia (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Bhargava, Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Blechman, Michael (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Blum, Ronald G. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Broad, Eric Marshall (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Bullerman, Michael S. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Byrd, Sibyl C. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002
Campbell, Benton J (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Capasso, Daniele J. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Case, Andrew (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Chandrika, Sarah C. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Chatham, Asra A. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Chen, Eric B. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Churchill, Mark H. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Clark, Scott W. (Texas)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Colby, Eben P. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Copley, Steven W. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Diaz, Sadie Holzman (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Elman, Jeremy (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002
Fabrikant, Robert (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Grabill, Meredith S. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Greenberg, Jennifer (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Grimsal, A. Gregory (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Harris, Christopher R. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Howard, Jacob W. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002
Johnson, Danielle E. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Kanny, Matthew P. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Kline, Robert M. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Krumm, Marissa C. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-0010 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Lacks, Jeremy R. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Low, John C. (Texas)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Lugerner, Andrew Richard (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Mehta, Mona (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Parver, Jane W. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Plexousakis, Renee E. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Raptis, Stephen T. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rheinheimer, Christopher A. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Romey, Michael A. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rosenbaum, Yonina (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rostoker, Jessica D. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rowen, Zachary L. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rowland, Elizabeth C. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Ruthberg, Miles N. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Safane, Aaron M. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Salerno, Matthew S. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Sherman, Randolph S. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Simshauser, Peter (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Soule, Rebekah L. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Spears, Steven G. (Texas)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Sprague, Ashley M. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Stewart, Meredith B. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Szivos, Thomas J. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Taffet, Eric. L. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Uhlemann, Justin B. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-0001 | IM-LA-0014-0002 | IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Upshaw, Anthony N. (Florida)
IM-LA-0014-0002
Wahlquist, Grant F. (New York)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Walker, Jacob A. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Walsh, Michael R. (Massachusetts)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Wilkinson, Kirk A. (California)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Bollman, Patricia Anne F. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Buras, Daniel Edwin Jr. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Carlisle, Arthur D. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Cerniglia, Timothy W. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Cornblatt, James L. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Davis, Lauren Masur (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Gianna, Dominic Joseph (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Hangartner, Erin Casey (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Hasenkampf, Mitchell P. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Keller, Robert Louis (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Rabbani, Elham (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Roux, Brian C. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Rydberg, Lance R. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9001
Shapiro, Stephen H. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Ungar, Hal D. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Weinberger, Alan Dean (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0014-9000 | IM-LA-0014-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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