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Case Name Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce IM-GA-0006
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-02000-JEC ( N.D. Ga. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:06-cv-21015  [ 06-21015 ]  Southern District of GA (U.S.)
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On April 20, 2006, four migrant and seasonal agricultural laborers who worked for Del Monte Fresh Produce's Georgia farms at various times during the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 harvest seasons filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of the ... read more >
On April 20, 2006, four migrant and seasonal agricultural laborers who worked for Del Monte Fresh Produce's Georgia farms at various times during the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 harvest seasons filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219 and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871. The class action lawsuit was filed against Del Monte Fresh Product (Southeast) ("DMSE") and its parent company, Del Monte Fresh Product, NA ("DMNA"). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants: 1) failed to pay the promised wage rate; 2) failed to reimburse plaintiffs for costs that they incurred in order to work on defendants' farms; and 3) violated federal employment laws. Plaintiffs were represented by attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Shortly after the suit was filed, the parties filed a joint motion to have the case transferred to the Northern District of Georgia. On June 30, 2006, the District Court (Judge Donald L. Graham) entered an order granting the motion to transfer. The case was transferred and assigned docket number 06-cv-02000-JEC in the Northern District of Georgia.

The Del Monte defendants contended that they had not employed any of the plaintiffs and therefore had no liability in the case. Del Monte maintained that the farm labor contractors who recruited plaintiffs were their true employers, not Del Monte.

In order to resolve the issue of defendants' status as plaintiffs' employer, the District Court (Julie E. Carnes) entered a bifurcated discovery schedule, with discovery first concentrating on the employer issue. Numerous discovery disputes arose, which were ultimately resolved by the Court in May 2007. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Southeast), Inc., 2007 WL 1500269 (N.D. Ga. 2007). The main disputes centered on the proper location for depositions of class representatives who lived in Mexico and who’s immigration status made it challenging to travel to the United States. Defendants disputed that they should have to travel to Mexico for the depositions. The court found that defendants could travel to Mexico (with plaintiffs bearing the differential cost) for the deposition or depose plaintiffs by phone or video conference. By separate order, the Court, with agreement by the parties, denied without prejudice plaintiffs' motions for class and collective action certification, until the court decided the employer issue.

Following the initial discovery period, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the employment issue. On March 19, 2008, the Court dismissed plaintiffs' claims against DMNA on the grounds that the parent corporation did not employ plaintiffs, but denied summary judgment to DMSE on the FLSA and AWPA claims. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Se.), Inc., No. 1:06-CV-2000-JEC, 2008 WL 754452 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 19, 2008). Plaintiffs filed a motion to alter the judgment and clarify the record on March 26, 2008. They asked the court to clarify that DMSE remained a defendant in the case as to all claims and asked the court to vacate the judgment with respect to DMNA.

On April 10, 2008, plaintiffs renewed their motion for class certification on behalf of two classes of workers: 1) guest-workers recruited from Mexico pursuant to the temporary agricultural work visa program, known as the "H-2A program" and 2) non-H-2A migrant and seasonal agricultural workers recruited from within the U.S. Plaintiffs also sought certification of a collective action to pursue their FLSA claims. The Court denied class certification for the first two classes but granted certification of the FLSA collective action. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Se.), Inc., No. 1:06-CV-2000-JEC, 2009 WL 10670185 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 3, 2009). In the same order, the Court granted plaintiffs motion to alter the judgment in part and clarified that the DMSE remained a defendant, but it declined to vacate the judgment with respect to DMNA. Plaintiffs appealed the decision to not certify the class, but lost in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Charles Wilson, Judge William Pryor, and Judge Emmett Cox), which on December 3, 2009, affirmed the district court's denial of class certifications. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (SE), Inc., 354 F. App'x 422 (11th Cir. 2009).

While the appeal was pending, the parties attempted to proceed with merits discovery in the district court. Discovery stalled, however, due to a number of disputes. On December 10, 2009, the District Court granted: (1) plaintiffs' motion for leave to file their third amended complaint, (2) plaintiffs' motion for joinder to add 52 opt-ins as individual plaintiffs on Counts I and II of the complaint, and (3) the parties' joint motion for extension of time to complete discovery. The court denied: (1) plaintiffs' motion to intervene, (2) plaintiffs' motion for a protective order to limit discovery to a small sample of the opt-in plaintiffs, (3) defendants' motion to stay discovery, and (4) plaintiffs' motion for a scheduling conference. Luna v. Del Monte Fresh Produce (Se.), Inc., No. 1:06-CV-2000-JEC, 2009 WL 4801357 (N.D. Ga. Dec. 10, 2009).

On April 15, 2010, the District Court approved a confidential settlement agreement with 63 workers. The court approved of an undisclosed settlement amount to be paid to the workers as well as payment of attorneys' fees and costs. Defendants did not admit liability. The court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement. All of plaintiffs’ claims were dismissed on the merits and with prejudice. There was no further activity on the docket. Presumably, there were no disputes over the settlement agreement and the case was closed.

Dan Dalton - 09/24/2007
Carlos Torres - 06/30/2013
Jennifer Bronson - 10/22/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Immigration/Border
Employer sanctions
Employment
Temporary foreign workers program
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219
Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1871
Defendant(s) Del Monte Fresh Produce
Plaintiff Description Seasonal migrant workers who worked for Del Monte in Georgia from 2003-2006, including 1) H-2A guest-workers recruited from Mexico; and 2) non- H-2A migrant and seasonal agricultural workers recruited from within the United States.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Denied
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 04/20/2006
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
S.D. Fla.
08/28/2006
1:06-cv-21015-DLG
IM-GA-0006-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/21/2010
1:06-cv-02000-JEC
IM-GA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ga.
04/20/2006
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-GA-0006-0018.pdf | Detail
N.D. Ga.
09/21/2006
First Amended Complaint - Class Action [ECF# 55]
IM-GA-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/18/2007
Order and Opinion [ECF# 144] (2007 WL 1500269)
IM-GA-0006-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/29/2007
Order [ECF# 147]
IM-GA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
N.D. Ga.
03/18/2008
Order and Opinion [ECF# 231]
IM-GA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
03/26/2008
Plaintiffs' Motion to Vacate Erroneous Judgment and for Clarification and Correction of Record [ECF# 233]
IM-GA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
03/03/2009
Order and Opinion [ECF# 277] (2009 WL 10670185)
IM-GA-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/07/2009
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 378]
IM-GA-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
06/12/2009
Order [ECF# 323]
IM-GA-0006-0017.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
12/10/2009
Order and Opinion [ECF# 376] (2009 WL 4801357)
IM-GA-0006-0020.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
01/06/2010
USCA Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 380] (354 Fed.Appx. 422)
IM-GA-0006-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
04/15/2010
Order Approving Settlement Agreement, Granting Joinder, and Dismissing Claims with Prejudice [ECF# 390]
IM-GA-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
N.D. Ga.
05/04/2010
Stipulation and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice [ECF# 392]
IM-GA-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Carnes, Julie E. (N.D. Ga., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0002 | IM-GA-0006-0003 | IM-GA-0006-0005 | IM-GA-0006-0008 | IM-GA-0006-0009 | IM-GA-0006-0015 | IM-GA-0006-0017 | IM-GA-0006-0020 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Cox, Emmett Ripley (S.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0016
Graham, Donald L. (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9001
Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0016
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0016
Plaintiff's Lawyers Appley, Elizabeth Joan (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-0007 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Benjamin-Gomez, Arlen S (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000
Bruner, Kelley McNair (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Dees, Morris S. Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000
Graunke, Kristi L (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0004 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Graunke, Kristi L. (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0006 | IM-GA-0006-9000
Knoepp, James Melvin (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000
Schell, Gregory Scott (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0006 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Turner, Andrew Hess (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-0007 | IM-GA-0006-0018 | IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Werner, Daniel (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bailey, Latesa K (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Kalk, Jacqueline Elise (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Reese, Kelly D (Alabama) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000
Strawn, Bradley E (Georgia) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001
Wilson, Courtney Blair (Florida) show/hide docs
IM-GA-0006-9000 | IM-GA-0006-9001

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