Case: Zavala v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

2:03-cv-05309 | U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

Filed Date: Nov. 10, 2003

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 10, 2003, a group of 17 undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-Mart stores nationwide, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.; the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§201 et seq.; and conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1985(3). Plaint…

On November 10, 2003, a group of 17 undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-Mart stores nationwide, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.; the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§201 et seq.; and conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1985(3). Plaintiffs claimed that Wal-Mart Inc. was engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise through which it conspired with various cleaning contractors to hire illegal labor to clean its thousands of stores throughout the country, thereby saving millions of dollars in labor costs. Plaintiffs' complaint, as amended, provided a detailed litany of alleged acts committed by Wal-Mart employees and others in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy to violate federal immigration law and to commit money laundering. Plaintiffs alleged that they and other class members were denied proper wages, overtime, and benefits. They sought injunctive, declaratory, and monetary relief.

In early 2004, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which included factual allegations concerning immigration raids that had been recently conducted at Wal-Mart stores. Plaintiffs noted that on October 23, 2003, federal officers with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided Wal-Mart retail stores in 21 states as part of "Operation Rollback." Hundreds of janitors were arrested, including 12 of the named plaintiffs. Federal agents also raided Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters.

Following the filing of the Amended Complaint, the parties notified the District Court that in March 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice had reached an $11 million global civil settlement with Wal-Mart in connection with its immigration investigation. Several of Wal-Mart's janitorial contractors also agreed to a $4 million criminal forfeiture.

Wal-Mart denied all allegations and moved to dismiss the entire case. By order dated October 7, 2005, the District Court (Judge Joseph A. Greenway Jr.) granted Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss in part, dismissing plaintiffs' RICO claims. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 393 F.Supp.2d 295 (D.N.J.2005). Plaintiff was granted leave to amend its complaint again to restate its claims.

Following the filing of the Second Amended Complaint, Wal-Mart moved to dismiss the realleged RICO claims. On August 28, 2006, the District Court dismissed two RICO related counts of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 447 F.Supp.2d 379, 383-84 (D.N.J.2006). Plaintiffs' request for certifying the August 28, 2006 Order as a final judgment for immediate appeal was denied. Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2007 WL 1134110 (D.N.J.).

In 2004, the Court granted conditional class certification for any undocumented immigrants who were working for Wal-Mart as contract janitors, and 200 additional plaintiffs joined the case as a result. However, when the plaintiffs filed for final certification of the conditional class in 2009, the Court denied their motion. Under 29 U.S.C. §216(b), class certification can be granted under the FLSA for other employees “similarly situated.” Although the plaintiffs argued that they should be granted certification because they all had similar job-related duties, the Court reasoned that there was too much variation in geographic location, salaries, and supervision for the motion to be granted.

In March 2011, the parties reached a settlement agreement in which Wal-Mart paid damages to seven of the ten remaining plaintiffs for the amount of overtime that they had worked but had not been compensated for, plus $20,000 in attorneys’ fees. Wal-Mart settled with two of the other plaintiffs in April 2011 for $13,000 apiece plus attorneys’ fees. The Court dismissed the claims of the remaining plaintiff with prejudice because he failed to participate in court proceedings and could not be reached by his attorneys.

This case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Miles Chan (8/1/2007)

Allison Hight (2/15/2016)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5706786/parties/zavala-v-wal-mart-corporation/


Judge(s)

Arleo, Madeline Cox (New Jersey)

Brown, Garrett E. Jr. (New Jersey)

Greenaway, Joseph A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Smith, David Brooks (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bahan, Della (California)

Batra, Puja (District of Columbia)

Ciantra, Thomas N. (New York)

Garcia, Gilberto M. (New Jersey)

Kricko, Mary Anne (New Jersey)

Linsey, James L. (New York)

Judge(s)

Arleo, Madeline Cox (New Jersey)

Brown, Garrett E. Jr. (New Jersey)

Greenaway, Joseph A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Smith, David Brooks (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bahan, Della (California)

Batra, Puja (District of Columbia)

Ciantra, Thomas N. (New York)

Garcia, Gilberto M. (New Jersey)

Kricko, Mary Anne (New Jersey)

Linsey, James L. (New York)

Loughlin, Michaelene (New Jersey)

Vigliotti, Oriana (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bernstein, Robert M. (New Jersey)

Branitsky, David (District of Columbia)

Golden, Thomas H. (New York)

Murray, David P. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:03-cv-05309

Docket

Zavala v. Walmart Stores, Inc.

Oct. 19, 2012

Oct. 19, 2012

Docket
1

2:03-cv-05309

Complaint

Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Nov. 10, 2003

Nov. 10, 2003

Complaint
6

2:03-cv-05309

Revised First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand

Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc

Feb. 2, 2004

Feb. 2, 2004

Complaint
6

2:03-cv-05309

First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc

Feb. 2, 2004

Feb. 2, 2004

Complaint
24

2:03-cv-05309

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Facilitated Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C.

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc

2004 WL 3374163

May 17, 2004

May 17, 2004

Pleading / Motion / Brief
64

2:03-cv-05309

Opinion

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc

393 F.Supp.2d 295

Oct. 7, 2005

Oct. 7, 2005

Order/Opinion
66

2:03-cv-05309

Answer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to Plaintiffs' Revised First Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc.

2005 WL 3171688

Oct. 18, 2005

Oct. 18, 2005

Pleading / Motion / Brief
75-1

2:03-cv-05309

Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Jury Demand

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc

2005 WL 3522044

Nov. 21, 2005

Nov. 21, 2005

Complaint

2:03-cv-05309

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss With Prejudice Counts

Zavala v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc

Jan. 20, 2006

Jan. 20, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief
103

2:03-cv-05309

Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Wal-Mart's Motion to Dismiss

Zavala v. Wal-mart Stores, Inc

2006 WL 1042459

March 20, 2006

March 20, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5706786/zavala-v-wal-mart-corporation/

Last updated Aug. 14, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
64

OPINION (COPY TO NJLJ). Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 10/07/05. (nr, )

Oct. 11, 2005

Oct. 11, 2005

RECAP
115

OPINION fld.. Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 8/28/06. (sr, )

Aug. 28, 2006

Aug. 28, 2006

RECAP
154

OPINION. Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 04/14/2007. (nr, )

April 16, 2007

April 16, 2007

RECAP
171

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 145 Motion to Seal Document. Signed by Judge Madeline C. Arleo on 09/12/2007. (nr, )

Sept. 12, 2007

Sept. 12, 2007

RECAP
191

OPINION. Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 09/25/2008. (nr, )

Sept. 26, 2008

Sept. 26, 2008

RECAP
195

OPINION. Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 06/08/2009. (nr, )

June 8, 2009

June 8, 2009

RECAP
197

AMENDED OPINION. Signed by Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on 6/9/2009. (nr, ) Modified on 6/10/2009 (nr, ).

June 9, 2009

June 9, 2009

RECAP
215

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. on 06/25/2010. (nr, ) Modified on 6/25/2010 (nr, ).

June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010

RECAP
235

MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr on 11/8/2010. (ss, )

Nov. 9, 2010

Nov. 9, 2010

RECAP
240

MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr on 11/30/2010. (ss, )

Dec. 1, 2010

Dec. 1, 2010

RECAP
261

MEMORANDUM OPINION filed. Signed by Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr on 4/7/2011. (eaj)

April 7, 2011

April 7, 2011

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: New Jersey

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 10, 2003

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Class of undocumented immigrant workers, who provided janitorial services at Wal-mart retail stores nationwide

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Wal-Mart Corporation, Private Entity/Person

JWM Commercial Cleaning, Private Entity/Person

Ruth And Sons, LLC, Private Entity/Person

Mitchell Industries, Private Entity/Person

Facility Solutions International, Private Entity/Person

Facility Solutions Incorporated, Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1985

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

Immigration/Border:

Constitutional rights

Employer sanctions

Employment

Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties