Second suit filed against Falcon Transport Co.
WARREN — Defunct trucking company Falcon Transport Co. faces another class action lawsuit over a claim it violated a federal mass layoff notice requirement when it suddenly closed April 27.
Ex-employees David Hlebovy of Youngstown and Tawni Grove-Caban of Canfield claim the Liberty-based company didn’t comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act 60-day notice requirement.
The act, approved by Congress in 1988, provides employees who claim they were not property notified of the mass layoff the ability to seek back pay and benefits for up to 60 days, which is what the lawsuit seeks. They also want repaid for health care payments taken, but not paid to the plan, and unpaid vacation time.
The law was put into place to give workers sufficient time to find other work or retraining before losing their jobs.
It also names Counterpoint Capital Partners LLC, the Los Angeles-based private equity firm that bought the trucking company in September 2017; G.D. Leasing of Indiana, Inc.; Chris Broussard of Texas, CEO of Falcon; and Nick Schrader of Medina, Falcon COO.
Messages seeking comment were left with Broussard and Schrader. Counterpoint could not be reached for comment; its website has been scrubbed of contact and other information. G.D. Leasing also could not be reached because of a nonworking telephone number.
The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Youngstown is the second class action lawsuit against the company.
The first, filed April 29 by an ex-employee of Girard, also claims Falcon and Counterpoint violated the WARN Act. It also seeks 60 days of unpaid wages and other benefits.
Falcon abruptly closed April 27, telling the employees — some of whom were truck drivers on the road — the news via email.
It filed the WARN notices Monday with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for its headquarters on Belmont Avenue, another location on Victoria Road in Austintown and a third in Lorain for 162 permanently laid-off employees.
The company provided several reasons for not meeting a federal 60-day requirement to notify employees of a mass layoff, including its largest customer — presumably General Motors Lordstown — closing several operations, new work not materializing, a ransomware attack on its computer system, lenders not advancing funds and vendors demanding payment, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter states.
The letter also states sending the notices would have impaired the company’s attempts to raise money, including negotiating for additional operating capital, selling excess equipment, negotiating the release of escrow funds from prior owners and unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a settlement payment from its largest customer.