University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Kambala v. Signal International, LLC IM-TX-0038
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00498 ( E.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Signal International Guest Worker Cases
Case Summary
On August 7, 2013, 16 Indian guestworkers filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for harm suffered as a result of an allegedly fraudulent and coercive employment recruitment scheme. Plaintiffs filed this suit after District Judge Jay Zainey ... read more >
On August 7, 2013, 16 Indian guestworkers filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for harm suffered as a result of an allegedly fraudulent and coercive employment recruitment scheme. Plaintiffs filed this suit after District Judge Jay Zainey denied class certification on January 3, 2012 in a related case, IM-LA-0010.

Plaintiffs were allegedly brought into the United States to provide labor and services to Defendant Signal International. Signal is based in Pascagoula, Mississippi and is in the business of providing repairs to offshore oil rigs in the Gulf Coast region. One plaintiff worked in Pascagoula; the remaining plaintiffs worked at Signal's Orange, Texas site. The complaint alleges that Plaintiffs paid Defendant Signal's recruiters as much as $24,000 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 to live in racially segregated labor camps ($1050 per month), 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.

The amended complaint, filed on behalf of 21 individuals, asserts claims under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (18 U.S.C. §1589 (forced labor) and 18 U.S.C. §1590 (trafficking)), the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. §1962), the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (42 U.S.C. §1981), the Ku Kux Klan Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. §1985), the Thirteenth Amendment, as well as claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. Plaintiffs are represented Equal Justice Center and Transnational Worker Rights Clinic.

In July 2014, United States Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn denied Signal's motion to transfer this case to the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs in this case only overlap with the David case, IM-LA-0010, insofar as their FLSA claims in the David case are concerned. Judge Hawthorn found the similarity in issues in the cases is not substantial enough to warrant transfer because the current venue is otherwise proper.

Trial is set for December 17, 2015.

Anna Dimon - 05/14/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Bathing and hygiene
Disparate Treatment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Loss or damage to property
Racial segregation
Sanitation / living conditions
Totality of conditions
Employer sanctions
Immigration lawyers
Temporary foreign workers program
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Asian/Pacific Islander
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. § 4301
State law
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1981
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Defendant(s) Billy R. Wilks
Dewan Consultants
Global Resources, Inc.
Gulf Coast Immigration Law Center
Indo-Amerisoft, L.L.C.
J & M Marine & Industrial LLC
J&M Associates of Mississippi, Inc.
Kurella Rao
Law Offices of Malvern C. Burnett
Malvern C. Burnett
Michael Pol
Sachin Dewan
Signal International, Inc.
Plaintiff Description 21 Indian guestworkers fraudulently recruited to work in the U.S.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
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.)
1:13-cv-00498-RC-ZJH (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0038-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0038-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/07/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Transfer [ECF# 56] (E.D. Tex.)
IM-TX-0038-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 117]
IM-TX-0038-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Clark, Ron Court not on record
Hawthorn, Zack (E.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beardall, William H. Jr. (Texas)
Sabourian, Kayvon (Texas)
IM-TX-0038-0001 | IM-TX-0038-0002 | IM-TX-0038-9000
Willett, Christopher Joseph (Texas)
IM-TX-0038-0001 | IM-TX-0038-0002 | IM-TX-0038-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bollman, Patricia Anne F. (Louisiana)
Cornblatt, James L. (Louisiana)
Hangartner, Erin Casey (Louisiana)
Hasenkampf, Mitchell P. (Louisiana)
Herman, Jonathan Marc (Texas)
Keller, Robert Louis (Louisiana)
Maney, Kevin P. (Louisiana)
Masur Davis, Lauren C. (Louisiana)
Rabbani, Elham (Louisiana)
Roux, Brian C. (Louisiana)
Rydberg, Lance R. (Louisiana)
Shapiro, Stephen H. (Louisiana)
Ungar, Hal D. (Louisiana)
Weinberger, Alan Dean (Louisiana)

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