Shrimpers sue industry union for allegedly withholding funds

By Kyle Barnett | Nov 15, 2013

GRETNA – A group of shrimpers have sued an organization that handled subsidies on their behalf that they claim were not fully paid out.

Thomas Thai, United Seafood Inc., Dang Gary Nguyen, Fourchon Shrimp Co. LLC, Joseph Doan, Intracoastal Seafood Inc., Sochen Lam and Jensen Seafood Packing Co. Inc. filed suit against Vietnamese-American Commercial Fisherman’s Union and Calvin Cuong Nguyen in the 24th Judicial District Court on Oct. 22.

The plaintiffs all contracted with the Vietnamese-American Commercial Fisherman’s Union which handles monies owed to them through the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000. The act compensates fishermen and seafood processors for damages due to dumping practices of foreign producers. The plaintiffs allege that the Vietnamese-American Commercial Fisherman’s Union sought distributions under the act on their behalf and would in return keep five percent of all funds. However, the plaintiffs claim the defendants kept more than their share of the proceeds, would not release detailed accounting of the funds and requested they pledge personal property in exchange for receiving disbursements of the funds.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, failing to properly represent plaintiffs’ interest, failing to timely submit appropriate claims applications and failing to properly handle funds belonging to plaintiffs.

Damages in excess of $10,000 are sought along with a release of all financial accounting data.

The plaintiffs are represented by Michael B. North of Preis & Roy of Houston, Texas.

The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Nancy A. Miller.

Case no. 732-218.

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