Signal International wins a round in "human trafficking" case

Signal International L.L.C. says it has received news of "a complete victory" in a case against the company pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana that alleges human trafficking, slave labor and fraud, among other claims.

United States District Judge Jay C. Zainey has denied class certification of the claims against the company.

In denying the class certification, Judge Zainey, observed with regard to the allegations made against Signal, "[t]o the contrary, this case involves paid workers who in fact could leave their jobs at any time, albeit under penalty of returning to their home countries but that restriction was dictated by U.S. immigration law. The workers were for the most part paid well, free to come and go as they pleased, and some even took vacations and bought cars. The pressure to work for Signal arguably came at least in part from a set of circumstances that each plaintiff individually brought upon himself when he elected to pay what is now characterized as 'exorbitant' fees to participate in the green card program."

He also stated, "plaintiffs were adult men, some of whom had worked overseas before and some of whom were well-educated and savvy. All of the plaintiffs knew that green cards were difficult to get and could only be obtained from the United States government. Plaintiffs were clearly eager to come to the United States–-some individuals tried to obtain employment with Signal even without going through the recruiting scheme."

Richard Marler, CEO of Signal, stated, "it has been a long road for Signal and we are incredibly pleased with this decision. We look forward to the next phase of this lawsuit where Signal fully expects to again be vindicated." 

January 4, 2011