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Case Name Devassy v. Signal International, LLC IM-LA-0015
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-06221 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Signal International Guest Worker Cases
Case Summary
This case is part of the series of Signal International cases. It was consolidated with Achari v. Signal International and continues on that page ... read more >
This case is part of the series of Signal International cases. It was consolidated with Achari v. Signal International and continues on that page.

On Aug. 14, 2013, 13 Indian guestworkers filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi for harm suffered as a result of an allegedly fraudulent and coercive employment recruitment scheme. The plaintiffs filed this suit after District Judge Jay Zainey denied class certification on January 3, 2012 in a related case, David v. Signal International. The complaint alleged violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (18 U.S.C. §1589 (forced labor) and 18 U.S.C. §1590 (trafficking)) and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981), as well as claims for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The plaintiffs were represented by private law firms.

Plaintiffs were allegedly brought into the United States to provide labor and services to the 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 alleged that the plaintiffs paid Signal's recruiters as much as $25,000 for travel, visa, and recruitment fees, but upon arrival in the United States found out they would not receive the green cards promised to them. Instead, plaintiffs were forced to pay additional fees ($1050 per month) to live in racially segregated labor camps, and were subject to squalid living conditions and threats of both legal and physical harm if they complained about the conditions or decided not to provide labor.

On Oct. 17, 2013, the District Court (Judge Robert H. Walker) entered an order consolidating this matter with the Achari case. The Court (Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr.) then transferred this case and Achari, Chakkiyattil v. Signal International, and Krishnakutty 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.

The Court closed the Achari case on May 26, 2017 without prejudice due to settlement agreement. The settlement established a claims process and ensures that all aggrieved individuals included in the litigation may receive relief in spite of the bankruptcy proceedings. In addition to monetary relief, Signal International's CEO issued a statement acknowledging the company's wrongdoing and apologizing for its treatment of the guest workers. The Court retained jurisdiction such that any party may reopen the case if any of the unlocated plaintiffs are located so that they may be paid pursuant to the settlement agreement.

Anna Dimon - 05/12/2015
Virginia Weeks - 10/14/2016
Ava Morgenstern - 12/02/2017
Sichun Liu - 04/01/2019


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
General
Bathing and hygiene
Disparate Treatment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Housing
Loss or damage to property
Racial segregation
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
Private Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
State law
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), 18 U.S.C. § 1589
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
Michael Pol
Sachin Dewan
Signal International, Inc.
Plaintiff Description 13 Indian guestworkers fraudulently recruited to work in the U.S.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Damages
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filing Year 2013
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.)
Docket(s)
2:13-cv-6218 (E.D. La.)
IM-LA-0015-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
IM-LA-0015-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Consolidating Cases [ECF# 20] (S.D. Miss.)
IM-LA-0015-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Knowles, Daniel E. III (E.D. La.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Morgan, Susie [Sue, Donna] (E.D. La.) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Walker, Robert H. (S.D. Miss.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bhargava, Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Byrd, Sibyl C. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Campbell, Benton J (New York) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Fabrikant, Robert (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Grimsal, A. Gregory (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Howard, Jacob W. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Lacks, Jeremy R. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Raptis, Stephen T. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Safane, Aaron M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Yuan, Howard H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Gianna, Dominic Joseph (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Roux, Brian C. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001
Weinberger, Alan Dean (Louisiana) show/hide docs
IM-LA-0015-9001

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