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Immigration Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Café Express, Wendy's

09-20-2006 12:07 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: Howie, Broome & Bobo, LLP

DALLAS - A class action immigration lawsuit has been filed against Café Express, its parent company Wendy’s International, Inc and its former law firm on behalf of nearly 100 undocumented employees who were fired last week.

According to the lawsuit, the restaurant defendants and the Houston-based law firm missed a 2001 deadline to file paperwork that could have allowed the employees to become permanent U.S. residents. The employees then were fired because they lacked resident status.

“What am I supposed to tell my family?” says Jaime Chavez, one of the former employees who filed the suit. “The company said they could help me become a resident. Instead, I get punished because they messed up.”

Under the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act of 2000, undocumented immigrant workers were allowed to file for permanent residency status. The one-time opportunity was dependent upon their Alien Labor Certification Application being on file April 30, 2001.

Café Express developed a program in which the restaurant defendants and the law firm would complete and file the applications for the employees, and the company would deduct $25 from the employee’s weekly paychecks to cover the legal fees.

However, plaintiffs allege that the law firm missed the 2001 application deadline. The employees were not notified of the mistake at the time, and the weekly deductions continued from May 2001 through December 2005.

“What happened here is unbelievable, and it was entirely avoidable,” says Stan Broome, an attorney with Dallas’ Howie, Broome & Bobo, LLP, who is representing the fired employees. “These hard working people had a chance to become residents, but Café Express and their lawyers threw their best chance away.”

The employees were informed of the missed deadline on July 7, 2006, when Café Express sent a letter informing them that their applications could not be successfully completed. The employees were also told that unless they could prove that their applications were filed on time, independent of the law firm, they would be fired on Sept. 15, 2006.

Howie, Broome & Bobo, LLP
105 Decker Court
Suite 850
Irving, Texas 75062

Press Contact:
Alan Bentrup

Howie, Broome & Bobo is a trial firm that focuses on complex business litigation and serious personal injury and wrongful death claims.

The firm’s business litigation expertise includes prosecuting and defending claims brought by and against corporations, government entities, business competitors, employees, shareholders, customers and the public. The firm regularly handles claims involving antitrust, product liability, commercial, construction, securities and shareholder rights, ERISA, contractual disputes, breaches of fiduciary duty, property and title disputes, trade secrets and class action lawsuits.

The firm’s personal injury practice includes handling claims involving tractor trailer and automobile negligence, medical negligence, construction accidents, nursing home neglect and improper insurance claims handling (bad faith) and products liability cases.

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