Louisiana Record

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sureway Supermarket owner wins summary judgment in case filed by evicted employees

Lawsuits

By Takesha Thomas | Feb 4, 2019


The owner of Sureway Supermarket has lost part of a bid to strike a lawsuit filed by two former employees who were evicted from company housing. 

On Dec. 26, 2018, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan denied a motion to strike filed by Sureway Supermarket's sole shareholder Shelly Jambon. Attorneys for Jambon had filed for a motion for partial summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana after Vivian and Michael Patz, two former employees, filed suit. 

In her ruling, Morgan denied, in part, a motion for partial summary judgment filed by Jambon under the Fair Housing Act, but granting the motion on other counts. Morgan also denied a motion for partial summary judgment filed by the Patzes on a personal liability claim. 

According to the suit, the Patzes were employees of Walter H. Maples Inc., also known as Sureway Supermarket. Jambon, the sole shareholder of Maples, is also the sole member of SHH Properties LLC. The couple claimed they were evicted from the employer-provided apartment, owned by SHH Properties, because Vivian Patz was pregnant. 

Jambon filed the motion for summary judgment in June 2018 alleging that she is "not personally liable on any claims made against her individually." Arguing that because she personally was not the Patz's employer or landlord, she cannot be held personally liable on any claims.

The court found it is "an undisputed fact that she was not the employer of Vivian Patz or Michael Patz, and, as a result, cannot personally be held liable for employment discrimination."

The Patzes had argued that although Jambon did not personally employ them, "she can nevertheless be personally liable if the court pierces the corporate veil between Maples and her." The Patzes' motion was denied in the matter.

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