FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - FEBRUARY 24, 2009
Charles A. Ercole has filed three class action lawsuits on behalf of groups of former Qimonda employees. The lawsuits were filed in the bankruptcy court in Delaware where Qimonda sought bankruptcy protection on Friday, February 20, 2009. The three lawsuits seek damages on behalf of various groups of laid-off employees at the 300mm and 200mm facilities in Henrico County, Virginia. Currently, Klehr Harrison has been directly retained by upwards of 400 employees.
“We had drafted a petition to force Qimonda into an involuntary bankruptcy because we wanted to limit its ability to liquidate assets without honoring its obligations to the employees. Qimonda saved us the trouble by filing itself,” said Mr. Ercole.
The lawsuit for the 300mm employees is based on the federal WARN Act and is identical to the one Klehr Harrison previously filed in federal court in Richmond. The class includes over 1,000 employees who were not given 60 days notice prior to being laid-off in early February. That case seeks wages and benefits for the 60 day notice period.
The 200mm lawsuits represent two categories of employees and allege that Qimonda’s actions violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and/or state common law. The larger class of 200mm employees (believed to be 600+) include those that were promised severance, signed releases, and laid-off in various “waves” throughout January. Most of those employees did not receive severance that was to be paid on February 13 or February 20. In fact, Qimonda’s President, Miriam Martinez, sent an email to all employees last week stating that Qimonda would not be paying the severance as promised. The severance packages provided a week’s pay for every year of service plus 4 weeks pay and also provided the payment of health care premiums for three months.
A second lawsuit filed on behalf of a smaller group of 200mm employees (believed to be approximately 150 employees) alleges that Qimonda misled the employees when it offered them jobs at the 300mm facility in exchange for those employees waiving their entitlements to severance. When the 300mm effectively shutdown on February 4-5, 2009, those jobs vanished.
All told, it is believed the wages and benefits potentially owed to employees could be $15-20 million.