October 7, 2008
Laid-Off Workers Sue Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc., Alleging WARN Act Violations, According to Outten & Golden LLP
NEW YORK, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Auto dealer giant Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc. allegedly violated federal labor law when thousands of employees throughout the nation were terminated just before the company sought bankruptcy protection on Sept. 28, according to lawyers for a former company worker who sued Friday in Alabama federal bankruptcy court.
According to the Complaint, Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc., and about two dozen affiliated companies, were required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to give at least 60 days advance written notice of the employee terminations and continue paying certain wages, salary, and benefits during the notice period in accordance with federal law.
Former Bill Heard employee Edward Kratzel, who worked at a Bill Heard facility in Las Vegas until Sept. 24, filed suit in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District in Decatur, Alabama.
Mr. Kratzel is represented by Adam T. Klein, Jack A. Raisner, and Rene S. Roupinian, of Outten & Golden LLP, of New York; and Mark P. Williams, of Norman, Wood, Kendrick & Turner, of Birmingham, Alabama.
The suit seeks WARN Act-required wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, accrued holiday pay, accrued vacation pay, pension and 401(k) contributions, and other benefits that would have been paid or covered during the notice period, and attorneys' fees and litigation-related costs.
The workers' legal team has sought to have the lawsuit certified as a class action that includes all persons who were terminated without cause at Bill Heard-owned facilities in Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas on or about Sept. 24. The companies, which sold the Chevrolet, Cadillac and Saab brands, are headquartered in Columbus, Georgia and included the largest Chevrolet dealership in the nation.
Attorney Jack A. Raisner, of Outten & Golden LLP, stated, "We allege that the Bill Heard employees are entitled to the protections of the WARN Act. Employers bound by the WARN Act and other labor laws cannot be allowed to compound the difficulties of abruptly laid-off employees. It's time for 'Mr. Big Volume,' as Mr. Heard called himself, to ensure that his employees survive this transition in accordance with the law."
Mr. Kratzel stated, "Employees of the Bill Heard companies around the nation should have been given more time to prepare for the closing of company facilities. Because of the WARN Act, we hope that this lawsuit will prevent employers like Bill Heard from avoiding their obligations to the workers who helped him generate billions of dollars of revenue through the years."
The case is "Edward Kratzel on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc, et al.," Case No. 08-80154-JAC, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court District for the Northern District of Alabama, Northern Division.
The defendants are Bill Heard Enterprises, Inc., Bill Heard Chevrolet Company, Tom Jumper Chevrolet, Inc., Bill Heard Chevrolet, Inc. - Huntsville, Landmark Chevrolet, Ltd., Bill Heard Chevrolet, Ltd., Bill Heard Chevrolet Corporation Nashville, Bill Heard Chevrolet Corporation - Orlando, Bill Heard Chevrolet Inc. - Union City, Bill Heard Chevrolet at Town Center, LLC, Bill Heard Chevrolet, Inc. - Collierville, Bill Heard Chevrolet, Inc. - Scottsdale, Bill Heard Chevrolet, Inc. - Plant City, Bill Heard Chevrolet Corporation - Las Vegas, Bill Heard Chevrolet Corporation - N.W. Las Vegas, Twentieth Century Land Corp., Enterprise Aviation, Inc., Century Land Corporation, Century Land Company - Tennessee, Bill Heard Management, LLC, Landmark Vehicle Mgt., LLC, Georgia Service Group, LLC, and Columbus Transportation, LLC.
Attorney Contacts: Jack A. Raisner and Rene S. Roupinian, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, (212) 245-1000, http://www.warnlawyers.com/.
Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Outten & Golden LLP, (281) 703-6000 or (281) 362-1411.
Outten & Golden LLP
CONTACT: Erin Powers of Powers MediaWorks LLC, +1-281-703-6000 or+1-281-362-1411, for Outten & Golden LLP
Web site: http://www.warnlawyers.com/