University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Liu v. Donna Karan International, Inc. IM-NY-0023
Docket / Court 1:00-cv-04221-RJH ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On June 7, 2000, a group of Chinese immigrant garment workers filed a lawsuit against their employers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and the New York Minimum Wage Act, N.Y. Lab. Law § 650 et ... read more >
On June 7, 2000, a group of Chinese immigrant garment workers filed a lawsuit against their employers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and the New York Minimum Wage Act, N.Y. Lab. Law § 650 et seq. Plaintiffs, who were represented by attorneys for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, alleged that they worked 80 hour, were paid below minimum wage and were not paid overtime. They sought damages in the form of back pay and liquidated damages. The complaint was amended to seek class action status.

Donna Karan International Incorporated, one of the defendants, moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, asserting that it was not the employer of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs maintained that while they were technically employed by the garment factory defendants, as all garments were made for Donna Karan, it should be liable as a joint employer. Donna Karan's motion was denied by District Judge Whitman Knapp on January 2, 2001. Liu v. Donna Karan International Incorporated, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18847, *1 (S.D. NY 2001).

Discovery ensued and Donna Karan sought to discover the immigration status of the plaintiff workers. On June 20, 2002, Judge Knapp denied Donna Karan's request on relevancy grounds. Liu v. Donna Karan International Incorporated, 207 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D. NY 2002).

Settlement conferences and negotiations followed, which ultimately produced a settlement between plaintiff and the Donna Karan International, Inc. Formal settlement papers were filed with the Court on July 30, 2003.

Following the settlement with Donna Karan, plaintiffs moved for a default judgment against the owners of the garment factories. On January 7, 2004, Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck issued a report recommending entry of judgment for plaintiffs against the factory owners, jointly and severally, for damages (including prejudgment interest) of $ 556,577.07, plus $ 20,355.00 in attorneys' fees and $90 in costs. Liu v. Donna Karan International Incorporated, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35 (S.D. NY January 7, 2004).

On March 1, 2004, the District Court (Judge Richard J. Howell) accepted and adopted Magistrate Judge Anthony Peck's report and recommendation and entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs. The judgment was amended on July 13 and July 31 of 2006.

The PACER docket reflects that post-judgment activity included efforts by plaintiffs to examine the factory owners under oath, in an attempt to collect the default judgment. It is unclear from the docket whether plaintiffs' default judgment was satisfied.

Brian Ponton - 08/31/2007


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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 State law
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
Defendant(s) Donna Karan International Incorporated
H.L.S. Fashion Corporation
Jen Chu Apparel Incorporated
Jen Chu Fashion Corporation
Jen Jen of New York Incorporated
W & C Fashion Corporation
Wong Chai Sportswear Incorporated
Y & C Mfg. Incorporated
Plaintiff Description Chinese immigrant garment workers employed by factories in New York and denied minimum wage and overtime pay.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2004 - n/a
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)
00-CV-04221 (S.D.N.Y.) 02/28/2007
IM-NY-0023-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 01/02/2001 (2001 WL 8595) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0023-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 06/11/2002 (207 F.Supp.2d 191) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0023-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 01/07/2004 (2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 35) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0023-0006 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Judges Holwell, Richard J. (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Knapp, Percy Whitman (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005
Peck, Andrew Jay (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
IM-NY-0023-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kimmerling, Kenneth (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Klein, Adam T. (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Moss, Scott (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Stanley, Marc (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Courtney, John (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004
Hwang, Chi-Yuan (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-0006 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Plevin, Bettina B. (New York)
IM-NY-0023-0004 | IM-NY-0023-0005 | IM-NY-0023-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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