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Case Name Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Signal International, LLC IM-LA-0011
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-00557-SM-DEK ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Signal International Guest Worker Cases
Attorney Organization EEOC
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
This is the second case filed in the Signal International cases.

On Apr. 20, 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against defendant Signal International, LLC, in the U.S. ... read more >
This is the second case filed in the Signal International cases.

On Apr. 20, 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against defendant Signal International, LLC, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The EEOC alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC's allegations of unlawful employment practices and a hostile workplace on the basis of national origin, immigration status, and race stem from a related case, David v. Signal International, brought against Signal by the guestworkers themselves.

The EEOC alleged that the terms and conditions of the Indian guestworkers' employment were less favorable than their non-Indian counterparts', and that Signal engaged in a pattern or practice of subjecting the Indian workers to a hostile environment and disparate terms and conditions of employment based on their race and national origin. The EEOC sought injunctive relief and monetary awards, including damages for emotional pain and suffering, punitive damages for malicious and reckless conduct, and attorneys' fees.

On Jan. 24, 2012, the Court (Magistrate Judge Robert Walker) granted a motion to intervene by three private plaintiffs who had been subjected to the allegedly unlawful treatment. The plaintiffs then filed a class action complaint, defining the proposed class as "all Indian Workers who paid recruitment fees and/or other amounts to the Recruiters, and who were employed by Signal at any time in 2006, 2007, and/or 2008."

On Feb. 29, 2012, the Court (Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola) granted Signal's motion to transfer the case to the Eastern District of Louisiana on the grounds that this case and David arose from the same conduct, and that the substantive issues and the parties were similar. District Judge Jay Zainey of the Eastern District of Louisiana then denied Signal's motion to consolidate the cases, noting that since the EEOC was a party to this case, it was statutorily entitled to expedited consideration.

On Sept. 10, 2013, Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles granted the EEOC's motion for a protective order for information related to the immigration history or status of individuals involved in the case. Signal argued it needed the information for impeachment purposes; the court noted that it had already rejected this argument in the David case, and once again barred discovery on the matter.

On Sept. 26, 2013, the Court dismissed the Intervenors' (guestworkers') claim for recovery of recruitment fees. The alleged discriminatory conduct in connection with the recruitment related only to events that occurred outside of the United States and before the Intervenors began to work at Signal's facilities, and the court found that Congress intended to exclude non-citizens located outside the United States from the protection of Title VII. As such, the Intervenors were not covered when they paid the recruitment fee because they were non-citizens and were not working within the United States at the time.

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

On Oct. 14, 2014, the Court denied Signal's motion for interlocutory appeal of the Court's prohibition of discovery on plaintiffs' post-Signal information including immigration status.

Although the Court set a trial date of June 1, 2015, on May 7, 2015, the trial was delayed indefinitely until an appeal on a separate EEOC case, EEOC v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, could be resolved. Shortly after, on July 12, 2015, Signal filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, putting a further halt on the case proceedings.

In Dec. 2015, the EEOC announced that the parties had reached a settlement for all cases, approved by the bankruptcy court. Signal would pay $5 million to 476 guestworkers through a claims process. All aggrieved individuals included in the litigation could receive relief in spite of the bankruptcy proceedings. Signal's CEO also issued an apology for its conduct.

This case is now closed.

Anna Dimon - 04/17/2015
Allison Hight - 01/15/2016
Ava Morgenstern - 12/01/2017


compress summary

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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
EEOC-centric
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Bathing and hygiene
Disparate Treatment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Housing
Loss or damage to property
Pattern or Practice
Racial segregation
Retaliation
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Immigration/Border
Employer sanctions
Employment
Immigration lawyers
Temporary foreign workers program
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
National Origin/Ethnicity
Indian
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Signal International, Inc.
Plaintiff Description EEOC
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-LA-0010 : David v. Signal International, LLC (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0012 : Achari 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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  Signal International, LLC to Pay $5 Million to Settle EEOC Race, National Origin Lawsuit
www.eeoc.gov
Date: Dec. 18, 2015
By: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  These Guestworkers Just Won $20 Million Back From the Company That Trafficked Them [The Nation]
www.thenation.com
Date: Oct. 2, 2015
By: Chen, Michelle
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Signal International Apologizes to Hundreds of Exploited Indian Guest Workers
www.splcenter.org
Date: Sep. 29, 2015
By: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Signal International Lawsuits
www.splcenter.org
Date: Apr. 20, 2011
By: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:12-cv-00557-SM-DEK (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/26/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:12-cv-557 (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Nature of the Action [ECF# 1]
IM-LA-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/20/2011
Order Granting Motion to Intervene [ECF# 44] (2012 WL 208864 / 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7615) (S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0011-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/24/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Complaint in Intervention [ECF# 45]
IM-LA-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/03/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion to Transfer [ECF# 52] (S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0011-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/29/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/02/2012
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 153]
IM-LA-0011-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Proposed First Amended Complaint in Intervention [ECF# 179]
IM-LA-0011-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons (2013 WL 2181293) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/20/2013
Order and Reasons [ECF# 197] (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 202] (2013 WL 2631427) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 206] (2013 WL 3776670) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 228] (2013 WL 4446833) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 237] (2013 WL 4854136 / 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 128990) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 251] (2013 WL 5428639) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/26/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 313] (2013 WL 6234592) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/02/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 316] (37 F.Supp.3d 814) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 336] (2014 WL 2581201) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/15/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Transfer [ECF# 451]
IM-LA-0011-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Reasons [ECF# 499] (37 F.Supp.3d 836) (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0019.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Litigation Settlement Trust Agreement [ECF# 555-1]
IM-LA-0011-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Guirola, Louis Jr. (W.D. Tex., S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0011-0004
Heyburn, John Gilpin II (W.D. Ky.)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Kaplan, Lewis A. (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Knowles, Daniel E. III (E.D. La.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0011-0013
Morgan, Donna Sue (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0002 | IM-LA-0011-0008 | IM-LA-0011-0009 | IM-LA-0011-0011 | IM-LA-0011-0012 | IM-LA-0011-0013 | IM-LA-0011-0014 | IM-LA-0011-0015 | IM-LA-0011-0016 | IM-LA-0011-0017 | IM-LA-0011-0019 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Proctor, R. David (N.D. Ala.)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Rendell, Marjorie O. (E.D. Pa., Third Circuit)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Vance, Sarah S. (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0018
Walker, Robert H. (S.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
IM-LA-0011-0002
Zainey, Jay C. (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0011-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Suzanne M. (Texas)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Bean, Julie Steptoe (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0006 | IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Bedi, Sheila A. (Mississippi)
IM-LA-0011-0003 | IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Belway, Shakti (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-0020
Bhatnagar, Chandra S. (New York)
IM-LA-0011-0003 | IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Bjarnson, Joseph (New York)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Canino, Robert Anthony (Texas)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Clark, Joel P. (Texas)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Fritzsche, Thomas P. (Georgia)
IM-LA-0011-0003 | IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Guerrier, Charles (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Hellman, Eden B. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Howard, Alan B. (New York)
IM-LA-0011-0003 | IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Jones, Anica C. (Tennessee)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Kopka, Ylda Marisol (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Lee, James E. (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0020
Lopez, P. David (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0020
Miller, Gerald L (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0006 | IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Murray, Steven Lee (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0006 | IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0020
Rucker, Marsha Lynn (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Sandler, Hugh (New York)
IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Shepard, Meghan L. (Texas)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Smith, C. Emanuel (Alabama)
IM-LA-0011-0001 | IM-LA-0011-0006 | IM-LA-0011-0020
Stewart, Meredith B. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Suriyopas, Ivy O. (New York)
IM-LA-0011-0003 | IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Tsu, Naomi Ruth (Georgia)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-LA-0011-0007 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Bollman, Patricia Anne F. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Cornblatt, James L. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Gianna, Dominic Joseph (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Hangartner, Erin Casey (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Hasenkampf, Mitchell P. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Rabbani, Elham (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Roux, Brian C. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Rydberg, Lance R. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Ungar, Hal D. (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001
Weinberger, Alan Dean (Louisiana)
IM-LA-0011-0020 | IM-LA-0011-9000 | IM-LA-0011-9001

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