Restoring Liberty While Awaiting Justice

In this case, Towards Justice’s clients allege that bail bond sureties and some bail bond agents in California have colluded to keep bail premiums at the maximum level allowed by law. Every year, nearly one million people are arrested and taken into custody in California, and over 60% of people in California jails are there because they cannot afford to pay bail. For far too many people, the cost of a bail bond is the cost of liberty, and because of the alleged collusive practices, that cost is out of reach for many who might be able to afford a bail bond if the market were operating competitively.

Case Documents

Complaint

Press

1/29/2019 Bail companies in California have conspired to keep premiums high, lawsuit alleges

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Fighting Forced Labor in Private Immigrant Detention Centers: Menocal et al v. GEO Group Inc.

Towards Justice fights to end labor trafficking whether in the form of individualized cruelty or systemic, structural coercion. In 2014, together with co-counsel, Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit against the GEO Group, Inc. (GEO), which operates a 1,500 bed immigrant detention facility in Aurora, CO. The suit, brought by civil detainees who worked for GEO for either $1 per day or for no wages at all and under threat of solitary confinement, alleges that GEO violated state law and federal prohibitions against forced labor. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Outten & Golden LLP, The Kelman Buescher Firm, Milstein Law Office, Law Office of R. Andrew Free, and The Meyer Law Office, PC.

Case Documents

Class Certification Ruling

Tenth Circuit Order Affirming Class Certification

District Court Denial of Motion to Dismiss

Our Tenth Circuit Brief

Press Releases

2/9/2018 The Tenth Circuit Upholds Class Certification in Immigrant Detainees’ Forced Labor Case against The GEO Group, Inc.

7/8/2015 Landmark Ruling: Immigrant Detainees’ Class Action Claims For Forced Labor, Unjust Enrichment May Proceed Against The GEO Group, Inc.

Press

4/4/2018 When Migrants Are Treated Like Slaves

11/30/2017 New Report Questions Detainee Labor Compensation at Private Prisons

11/21/2017 Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom

6/22/2017 Ex-detainees: Detention center’s practices border on slavery

6/9/2017 The Use of Forced Labor in Private Immigration Detention Centers

4/11/2017 Lawsuit May Set Precedent On Forced Immigrant Labor In Private Prisons

4/3/2017 How a Private Prison Company Used Detained Immigrants for Free Labor

3/8/2017 Class Certification Granted in Detention Center Lawsuit

3/7/2017 Can for-profit prisons force detained immigrants to work?

3/5/2017 A Colorado judge just granted 62,000 former immigrant detainees the right to sue GEO Group over forced labor, enrichment

3/5/2017 Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws

3/3/2017 About 60,000people now involved in lawsuit claiming forced labor at Aurora immigration detention center

3/2/2017 Class action suit: Immigrants held in Aurora required to work for $1 aa day, threatened with solitary if refused

3/1/2017 Forced to work? 60,000 undocumented immigrants may sue detention center

2/28/2017 Prison Slavery: Over 50,000 Detainees Claim Forced Labor, Sue Private Prison Company

2/28/2017 Forced labor dispute: Detained immigrants suing a private prison company over forced labor move forward with groundbreaking class action

2/27/2017 Detainees Sue Private Prison for ‘Forced Labor’

2/27/2017 Judge OKs Class of 50K Detainees In TVPA Suit Against GEO

8/5/2015 Prison Co. Seeks Reconsideration In Detainee Labor Suit

7/23/2015 At Low Pay, Government Hires Immigrants Held At Detention Centers

7/15/2015 Judge OKs forced labor lawsuit against detention center contractor

7/10/2015 Private Prison Company Forced Immigrants To Work For Free, Lawsuit Says

7/8/2015 GEO Lawsuit Alleging Forced Labor of Immigrant Detainees Moves Forward

10/31/2014 Detention Center Forced Immigrants To Work For $1 Per Day Or Face Solitary Confinement Lawsuit Says

10/27/2014 Colorado Immigrant Detainees’ Labor Claims May Be Part of National Issue

10/23/2014 Lawsuit Accuses Aurora private prison of paying immigrants $1 a day

10/23/2014 Immigrant Detainees In Colorado Suing Prison Company Over Labor Practices

10/23/2014 GEO Sued for Minimum Wage and Forced Labor Law Violations, and Unjust Enrichment

10/23/2014 Lawsuit accuses Aurora immigrant jail of forcing inmates to work

Spanish Language Press

7/24/2015 Dan luz verde a demanda contra centro de detencion GEO en Aurora

Immigrants sue GEO detention center

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Protecting Workers with Disabilities from Exploitation: Dugan et. al v. Adelante Development Center, Inc.

Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of New Mexico workers with physical and intellectual disabilities who are employed in “sheltered workshops.” In these workshops, workers with disabilities scan and shred documents, remove staples from paper with their hands, drive around town to retrieve boxes for shredding, fix tears in documents, and perform a variety of other tasks. For their labor, workers are paid less than the New Mexico or Albuquerque minimum wage—sometimes as little as 18 cents per hour. Our clients seek an injunction against this anachronistic practice and backpay for illegal and unfair wages.  

Case Documents

Press Releases

Press

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Redefining Work for Caretakers: Bagoue v. Developmental Pathways

Towards Justice represents a proposed class of caretakers employed at group homes for people with disabilities who were allegedly denied pay for all hours worked and routinely denied overtime pay. In particular, improper designation of substantial work time as “sleep time” left caretakers without compensation for thousands of hours of work. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel The Law Offices of Brian D. Gonzales, PLLC.

Case Documents

Court Ruling Denying Motion to Dismiss

Press

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Protecting Workers with Disabilities from Exploitation: Dugan et. al v. Adelante Development Center, Inc.

Towards Justice filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of New Mexico workers with physical and intellectual disabilities who are employed in “sheltered workshops.” In these workshops, workers with disabilities scan and shred documents, remove staples from paper with their hands, drive around town to retrieve boxes for shredding, fix tears in documents, and perform a variety of other tasks. For their labor, workers are paid less than the New Mexico or Albuquerque minimum wage—sometimes as little as 18 cents per hour. Our clients seek an injunction against this anachronistic practice and backpay for illegal and unfair wages.  

Case Documents

Press Releases

Press

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Fighting Injustice in Guest-Worker Programs: Douglas et. al v. Yellowstone Club Operations, LLC; and Hospitality Staffing Solutions LLC:

Several of Towards Justice’s cases focus on systemic injustices in nonimmigrant guestworker programs where visas indenture workers to specific employers that far too frequently exploit their employees and defraud them with false promises of the American Dream. In September 2018, Towards Justice filed a case on behalf of several black Jamaican citizens who spent the winter of 2017-2018 working in Montana as temporary non-immigrant H-2B visa workers for an ultra-exclusive golf and ski resort. According to their allegations, they were promised that the resort would employ them and that they would receive ample pay, including tips and service charges that could amount to $400-$600 or more in a night at the nicest restaurants. They allege that instead they found themselves jointly employed by a temp-staffing firm, which, along with the resort, robbed them of their promised tips and service charges. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Lowrey Parady, LLP.

Case Documents

Complaint 

Press

9/22/18 Bloomberg “Billionaires’ Yellowstone Club Sued for Stiffing Jamaican Staff”

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Calling on the Government to Protect Marginalized Shepherds: Hispanic Affairs Project v. Perez

Towards Justice fights for justice for marginalized workers. We represent current and former shepherds, who until recently made only $2 or $3 an hour, alleging that the Federal Government has failed in its duty to protect workers and prevent wage stagnation in the sheep ranching industry. Our clients allege that the United States Departments of Labor and Homeland Security – charged by Congress with preventing the influx of cheap foreign labor and the creation of a permanent, underpaid foreign workforce – have failed in these duties in violation of federal law.  All plaintiffs seek correction of the regulatory mess these agencies have created, and one current shepherd seeks back wages from his employer, the Western Range Association. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Case Documents

DC Circuit Decision

Press Releases

9/13/2016 Shepherds Proceed with Claims that the U.S. Government Illegally Created a Permanent Workforce of Foreign Shepherds and Arbitrarily Denies Foreign Shepherds Wages for All Hours They Work

11/6/2015 The Federal Government Has Failed in its Duty to Protect Workers and Prevent Wage Stagnation, Shepherds Allege

Press

3/13/2017 Ranchers, DOL Fight Shepherds’ Wage Floor Challenge

11/5/2015 Exploited sheepherders win pay raise in court—but their struggle isn’t over yet

10/15/2015 Shepherds Argue DOL Visa Rules Keep Wages Too Low

10/13/2015 Sheepherders Are Set to Get a Raise

10/1/2015 Montrose group files lawsuit over sheepherder wages

9/17/2015 DOL Slams Injunction Bid In H-2A Sheepherder Suit

8/25/2015 Immigrant labor harming U.S. shepherds, lawsuit says

8/20/2015 Shepherds Sue Uncle Sam for Living Wage

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Combating Systemic Minimum Wage Violations for Nevada Shepherds: Cántaro et. al v. Western Range Association et. al

Towards Justice represents a proposed class of shepherds alleging systematic violation of the Nevada minimum wage by paying shepherds as little as two dollars an hour. Towards Justice represents the plaintiffs with co-counsel Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

Case Documents

Amended Complaint

Press

5/5/2016 Shepherds Say They’re Paid Just $2 an Hour

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In The Courtroom

Our litigators help workers advance legal claims that address systemic injustice. We use antitrust, anti-slavery, fraud, wage-and-hour, and common-law challenges to address the wide variety of practices that nickel-and-dime low-wage workers out of their hard-earned wages. We have represented a hundred thousand childcare workers alleging wage suppression, tens of thousands of immigrant detainees alleging forced labor, and hundreds of construction workers, shepherds, manicurists, janitors, and kitchen hood cleaners. We are leaders in challenging anti-competitive practices that reduce worker bargaining power and support marginalized people who challenge structural impediments to their advancement.

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