The abrupt shutdown of the V.C. Summer Plant expansion project in Jenkinsville, South Carolina was an event that impacted more than 5,000 employees and their families. These employees showed up for work on July 31, 2017, only to be told they no longer had a job.
Two weeks later attorneys Amy Gaffney and Susan Strom, partners with the law firm of Gaffney Lewis and Edwards, met with more than 800 of the affected employees to hear their concerns. “The former V.C. Summer employees had many questions and were understandably very worried,” said Gaffney. “We assured them we would look into the situation and any possible remedies, and we did.”
Subsequent to these meetings, Gaffney, together with co-counsel from Yarborough Applegate in Charleston and Klehr Harrison in Philadelphia, PA, filed three class action suits on behalf of the displaced employees. The first lawsuit filed alleged that Fluor, the project manager, did not correctly pay certain of its employees’ overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); two other suits alleged that Fluor and a Westinghouse subsidiary, WECTEC, violated the WARN Act when it failed to give employees 60 days’ notice of the plant closing.
The class action suit seeking recovery and unpaid overtime due to the Fluor employees was litigated, mediated, and settled for $1.59 million dollars. The settlement funds have been distributed to the displaced workers.
“Given the dire circumstances facing some of the displaced workers, it was important to us to keep our commitment to those workers, work swiftly, and reach a resolution that would provide them with the money they earned and rightly deserved,” Gaffney said.
The WARN Act case against WECTEC is moving forward in the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York. Gaffney and her colleagues represent almost 500 former Fluor employees in the WARN Act case pending in U.S. District Court in Columbia. That case was recently consolidated with other WARN Act cases and will now proceed. The WARN Act case against Fluor is one of the largest class action employment cases in South Carolina history.
Disclaimer: Prior results achieved by Gaffney, Lewis & Edwards do not guarantee a similar outcome for other clients.