Louisiana Record

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Court issues split verdict in employment allegations against LaShip

Lawsuits

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 19, 2019


NEW ORLEANS -- Six Louisianans who sued the company they worked for alleging a series of labor law violations obtained mixed results in court, as two different motions were decided differently.

Judge Dana Douglas, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, issued a 15-page ruling on Feb. 8 in the lawsuit filed by Jesse Hills Jr. and others against LaShip LLC.

The court denied in part and granted in part a motion for summary judgment filed by LaShip regarding plaintiff Eugene Watson, and the court denied a motion filed by the plaintiffs to strike the summary judgment. Hills and the other plaintiffs also filed a motion to compel documents, being "taken under advisement" by the judge.

Hill and the other plaintiffs sued LaShip, alleging discrimination, retaliation and violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) while they worked for the defendant.

"After motions to sever and to consolidate, the withdrawals of numerous plaintiffs’ attorneys, and motions to continue given the awkward procedural posture of the lawsuit, four plaintiffs remain represented by counsel, one proceeds pro se, and the court dismissed one from the lawsuit," Douglas wrote.

Watson worked as a carpenter for LaShip, starting in March 2009.

"He alleges denial of pay raises and unfair pay, as well as racist jokes and commentary," the ruling said. "Specifically, Watson asserts claims for (1) race and color discrimination pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and La. Rev. Stat. § 23:332, (2) retaliation pursuant to Title VII, Section 1981, and La. Rev. Stat. § 23:332, and (3) a hostile-work environment."

In her ruling, Douglas granted the motion regarding the claims of termination and retaliation, and denied the other claims. Douglas decided that the documents of the compel motion would have to be brought in "no later than three business days" of the publication.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case No. is 15-5736.

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