On May 14, 2021, the Court granted final approval of a class action settlement with a total value of $1 million in this certified class and collective action, which was brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, federal immigration laws and the North Carolina Wage & Hour Act. At the final approval hearing on May 14, Judge James C. Dever III commended Plaintiffs’ counsel for the “excellent [settlement] papers.”
On March 23, 2018, Cohen Milstein, along with co-counsel Robert J. Willis, filed an amended complaint bringing class action claims against Ham Farms, Ham Produce, and a number of farm labor contractors in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The lawsuit, entitled Lopez, et al. v. Ham Farms, LLC, et al., was brought on behalf of migrant, seasonal, and/or H-2A agricultural workers who were jointly employed by Ham Farms/Produce and the farm labor contractor companies who furnished these workers over the course of the 2014-2018 agricultural seasons.
The suit alleges that farm workers working for these companies were underpaid in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, federal immigration laws and the North Carolina Wage & Hour Act.
The H-2A visa program authorizes agricultural employers to recruit and hire temporary workers from outside of the United States but requires them to comply with certain rules to ensure that the H-2A program is not used to undercut the wages that would be paid to U.S. workers.
The case is styled: Lopez et al v. Ham Farms, LLC et al., Case No. 5:17-cv-00329, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina