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Case Name Zavala v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. IM-NJ-0005
Docket / Court 2:03-cv-05309-JAG-MCA ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On November 10, 2003, a group of 17 undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-Mart stores nationwide, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced ... read more >
On November 10, 2003, a group of 17 undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-Mart stores nationwide, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.; the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§201 et seq.; and conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1985(3). Plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart Inc. was engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise through which it conspired with various cleaning contractors to hire illegal labor to clean its thousands of stores throughout the country, thereby saving millions of dollars in labor costs. Plaintiffs' complaint, as amended, provided a detailed litany of alleged acts committed by Wal-Mart employees and others in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy to violate federal immigration law and to commit money laundering. Plaintiffs alleged that they and other class members were denied proper wages, overtime, and benefits. They sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief.

In early 2004, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which included factual allegations concerning immigration raids that had been recently conducted at Wal-Mart stores. Plaintiffs noted that on October 23, 2003, federal officers with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided Wal-Mart retail stores in 21 states as part of "Operation Rollback." Hundreds of janitors were arrested, including 12 of the named plaintiffs. Federal agents also raided Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters.

Following the filing of the Amended Complaint, the parties notified the District Court that in March 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice had reached an $11 million global civil settlement with Wal-Mart in connection with its immigration investigation. Several of Wal-Mart's janitorial contractors also agreed to a $4 million criminal forfeiture.

Wal-Mart denied all allegations and moved to dismiss the entire case. By order dated October 7, 2005, the District Court (Judge Joseph A. Greenway Jr.) granted Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss in part, dismissing plaintiffs' RICO claims. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 393 F.Supp.2d 295 (D.N.J.2005). Plaintiff was granted leave to amend its complaint again to restate its claims.

Following the filing of the Second Amended Complaint, Wal-Mart moved to dismiss the realleged RICO claims. On August 28, 2006, the District Court dismissed two RICO related counts of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 447 F.Supp.2d 379, 383-84 (D.N.J.2006). Plaintiffs' request for certifying the August 28, 2006 Order as a final judgment for immediate appeal was denied. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2007 WL 1134110 (D.N.J.).

In 2004, the Court granted conditional class certification for any undocumented immigrants who were working for Wal-Mart as contract janitors, and 200 additional plaintiffs joined the case as a result. However, when the plaintiffs filed for final certification of the conditional class in 2009, the Court denied their motion. Under 29 U.S.C. §216(b), class certification can be granted under the FLSA for other employees “similarly situated.” Although the plaintiffs argued that they should be granted certification because they all had similar job-related duties, the Court reasoned that there was too much variation in geographic location, salaries, and supervision for the motion to be granted.

In March 2011, the parties reached a settlement agreement in which Wal-Mart paid damages to seven of the ten remaining plaintiffs for the amount of overtime that they had worked but had not been compensated for, plus $20,000 in attorneys’ fees. Wal-Mart settled with two of the other plaintiffs in April 2011 for $13,000 apiece plus attorneys’ fees. The Court dismissed the claims of the remaining plaintiff with prejudice because he failed to participate in court proceedings and could not be reached by his attorneys.

This case is now closed.

Miles Chan - 08/01/2007
Allison Hight - 02/15/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Employer sanctions
Employment
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Defendant(s) Facility Solutions Incorporated
Facility Solutions International
JWM Commercial Cleaning
Mitchell Industries
Ruth And Sons, LLC
Wal-Mart Corporation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Class of undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-mart retail stores nationwide
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 2011
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)
03-cv-05309-JAG-MCA (D.N.J.) 10/19/2012
IM-NJ-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 11/10/2003
IM-NJ-0005-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand 02/02/2004
IM-NJ-0005-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Revised First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand 02/02/2004
IM-NJ-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Facilitated Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 05/14/2004
IM-NJ-0005-0007 PDF | Detail
Opinion 10/07/2005 (393 F.Supp.2d 295) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0012 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Answer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to Plaintiffs' Revised First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury 10/18/2005
IM-NJ-0005-0006 PDF | Detail
Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand 11/21/2005 (2005 WL 3522044)
IM-NJ-0005-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice Counts 01/20/2006
IM-NJ-0005-0008 PDF | Detail
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Wal-Mart's Motion to Dismiss 03/20/2006 (2006 WL 1042459)
IM-NJ-0005-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Wal-Mart's Motion to Dismiss 03/20/2006
IM-NJ-0005-0009 PDF | Detail
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of its Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice Counts One and Two of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand 05/05/2006
IM-NJ-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
WAL-MART STORES, INC.’S REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN FURTHER SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE COUNTS ONE AND TWO OF PLAINTIFFS’ SECOND AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 05/05/2006
IM-NJ-0005-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 08/28/2006 (447 F.Supp.2d 379) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0013 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/16/2007 (2007 WL 1134110) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 09/25/2008 (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 06/09/2009 (2009 WL 1617956) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0018 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Order [denying 200 Motion for final Class certification] 06/25/2010 (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0025 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 11/09/2010 (2010 WL 4668441) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0019 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Memorandum Opinion 11/30/2010 (2010 WL 4961646) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0020 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Notice of Joint Motion to Approve Settlement and Dismiss Claims of Felipe Condado, Eunice Gomez, Jiri Pfauser, Hana Pfauserova, Carlos Tello, and Victor Zavala Torres 03/11/2011
IM-NJ-0005-0022 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Settlement and Dismissal of Claims 03/11/2011
IM-NJ-0005-0026 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Joint Motion to Approve Settlement and Dismiss Claims of Ovtavio Denicia 03/25/2011
IM-NJ-0005-0023 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 04/07/2011 (2011 WL 1337476) (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0021 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion 08/31/2012
IM-NJ-0005-0024 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Arleo, Madeline Cox (D.N.J.) [Magistrate]
IM-NJ-0005-9000
Brown, Garrett E. Jr. (D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0019 | IM-NJ-0005-0020 | IM-NJ-0005-0021 | IM-NJ-0005-0025 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Greenaway, Joseph A. Jr. (Third Circuit, D.N.J.)
IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0014 | IM-NJ-0005-0015 | IM-NJ-0005-0018
Smith, David Brooks (Third Circuit, W.D. Pa.)
IM-NJ-0005-0024
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bahan, Della (California)
IM-NJ-0005-0011 | IM-NJ-0005-0026
Batra, Puja (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0005-0004 | IM-NJ-0005-0026
Ciantra, Thomas N. (New York)
IM-NJ-0005-0003 | IM-NJ-0005-0004 | IM-NJ-0005-0005 | IM-NJ-0005-0011 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0026
Garcia, Gilberto M. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0005-0002 | IM-NJ-0005-0003 | IM-NJ-0005-0004 | IM-NJ-0005-0005 | IM-NJ-0005-0011 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0022 | IM-NJ-0005-0023 | IM-NJ-0005-0026 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Kricko, Mary Anne (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0005-0003 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0026
Linsey, James L. (New York)
IM-NJ-0005-0002 | IM-NJ-0005-0003 | IM-NJ-0005-0004 | IM-NJ-0005-0005 | IM-NJ-0005-0011 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0014 | IM-NJ-0005-0022 | IM-NJ-0005-0026 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Loughlin, Michaelene (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0014 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Vigliotti, Oriana (New York)
IM-NJ-0005-0003 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0026
Defendant's Lawyers Bernstein, Robert M. (New Jersey)
IM-NJ-0005-0001 | IM-NJ-0005-0010 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0014 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Branitsky, David (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013
Golden, Thomas H. (New York)
IM-NJ-0005-0022 | IM-NJ-0005-0023 | IM-NJ-0005-9000
Murray, David P. (District of Columbia)
IM-NJ-0005-0010 | IM-NJ-0005-0012 | IM-NJ-0005-0013 | IM-NJ-0005-0022 | IM-NJ-0005-0023
Other Lawyers None on record

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