The shutdown of Pennsylvania-based Excel Storage Products, Inc. on September 17, 2010 without any advance notice left hundreds of employees without jobs or health insurance. These abrupt shutdowns focus attention on the plight of workers who believe they are safe in their jobs one day, and are laid-off the next. The sudden loss of jobs plus the loss of company health insurance when an employer files bankruptcy, as is the case here, is the predicament of the employees of Excel Storage Products. This double dose of pain draws attention to employees’ legal rights, according to the national employee rights law firm of Outten & Golden LLP, recently appointed WARN class counsel to a nationwide class of approximately 3,000 employees, Callahan, et al. v. Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp Case No. 09-00439, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida. On September 24th, Outten & Golden LLP filed its class action lawsuit against Excel and its parent, Excel Capital Partners, on behalf of the employees who worked at the East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania, Lodi, California and Cadiz, Ohio facilities, among others, seeking to recover 60 days wages and benefits for each affected employee for violation of the federal (and California) Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act; Ruth Blackburn, Gladys Coston – Gibson and Jared Meinecke on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated v. Excel Storage Products L.P., and Excel Capital Partners, LLC., Case No. 10-00368.
René S. Roupinian, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP, who co-chairs the firm’s WARN Act group … says that the firm has been contacted by Excel employees from both coasts expressing shock at the shoddy treatment they received in connection with their abrupt terminations. Unfortunately, their stories are eerily similar to those of former employees of Quaker Fabric, Aguiar v. Quaker Fabric Corporation, Case No. 07-51716, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Binford v. First Magnus Capital Inc., Case No. 08-01494, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona, Czyzewski v. Jevic Transportation, Inc., Case No. 08-50662, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Mofield vs. FNX Mining Company USA Inc., Case No., 08-00105, U.S. District Court Middle District of Tennessee and Callahan v. Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp, Case No. 09-00439, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida ““ some of the tens of thousands of employees represented by our firm in WARN class actions ““ all of whom learned they were terminated on the day their companies shut down. ”
Jack Raisner, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP, points out that this scenario has been playing out across the nation during the Great Recession, leading to many angry workers and lawsuits. Employees especially resent being kept in the dark, or worse being falsely told their jobs are secure, only to be tossed to the curb. That’s why written notice is so important, in fact, it’s the law under the WARN Act. ”
Many employees do not realize that when an employer goes out of business, health insurance plans are usually terminated along with the employees, which unfortunately is what the Excel employees are dealing with, ” Roupinian says. In our experience, litigating more than 60 WARN cases nationwide, a majority in bankruptcy courts, employees are let go with no insurance to pay for necessary prescriptions and medical procedures for themselves and their families. It’s a harsh reality and can often be more devastating than the sudden loss of income. “