Settlement would compensate workers at shuttered plant

CHARLESTON, SC – Former employees of American LaFrance, a defunct Moncks Corner fire truck manufacturer, will receive compensation for owed salary and benefits stemming from the plant’s sudden shutdown in January 2014 under the terms of a proposed settlement between the parties.

Workers arrived at the plant on January 17, 2014 to learn that the company would cease operations immediately and that they would receive no severance packages. Plaintiffs Olivia and James Schreiner filed a class action on behalf of the workers alleging the company’s actions put it in violation of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires workers to be paid and receive benefits for 60 days when companies of a certain size reduce their workforce.

The proposed settlement agreement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel, calls for American LaFrance and Patriarch Partners, which plaintiffs contend controlled American LaFrance, to provide lump sum payments totaling $385,000 to approximately 100 former workers at the Moncks Corner plant.

“This settlement will essentially give workers a six week severance package,” said lead counsel James L. Ward, Jr. of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, which represents the workers. “Given the precarious financial position of American LaFrance, which ceases to exist or hold meaningful assets, and the inherent risks associated with a protracted legal battle, this settlement compensates the employees, helping them as they transition to the next chapter of their lives.”

Prior to its shuttering, American LaFrance employed about 500 workers at locations in California, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, about 100 of whom were based at the company’s Moncks Corner facility. Workers at the company’s other locations did not quality for compensation because the employer’s headcount at those facilities did not meet federal thresholds.

All eligible former employees will receive written notice of the proposed settlement agreement and additional notifications throughout the settlement approval process. A hearing date on the motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement has not been scheduled.

RPWB is a plaintiff law firm based in Charleston, SC with extensive experience in complex litigation across a diverse array of practice areas, including employment class action cases. Patriarch Partners LLC, is a private equity investment  firm based in New York that invests in financially-distressed companies.

Case Information

Schreiner et al v. Patriarch Partners LLC et al

Case #: 2:2014cv00220

Plaintiff Attorneys: James L. Ward, Jr., T. Christopher Tuck and Catherine H. McElveen of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman in Mt. Pleasant, SC; and Randall Charpia of Charpia Law Firm in Summerville, SC.

Defense Attorneys:  Paul I. Perlman, Peter C. Godfrey, and Robert J. Fluskey of Hodgson Russ LLP in Buffalo, NY; and Scott Schools and E. Brandon Gaskins of Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charleston, SC.

Judge: The Hon. Richard M. Gergel of the District of South Carolina

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