Eleven security guards who were awarded a total of $206,362 in unpaid wages, overtime compensation, and liquidated damages, are also demanding $15,450 in attorney’s fees and $400 in non-taxable costs.
The guards, through counsel Mun Su Park, informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI Friday that the case is now on its second year and required a substantial amount of work, given the sheer number of plaintiffs.
Park said he has exercised appropriate billing judgment in reducing the hours for which the plaintiffs are seeking reimbursement.
Park said his $15,450 attorney’s fee represents 77.25 hours billed at a rate of $200 per hour.
At a bench trial last Aug. 30, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered MD. Nurul Bhuiyan, who owns Island Protection Service, to pay the 11 guards $103,181 in unpaid wages and overtime compensation.
Manglona also ordered Bhuiyan to pay liquidated damages equal to the unpaid wages and $103,181 in overtime compensation.
The plaintiffs are all Bangladeshis.
Bhuiyan was ordered to pay Billal Hossen Sarkar $9,814; MD Shahidul Islam $19,496; Hemayet Hossen $16,922; Maksudur Rahman $19,604; MD Rabi Ullah $14,279; Abdullah Al Mahamud $27,323; Abdullah Al Mamun $28,046; Mohammed Masum Billah $18,860; Syful Islam $24,372; Shomon Ullah Monshi $25,881; and MD. Solaiman Munshi $1,753.
At the Aug. 30 trial, Amir Rasool and Nasir Uddin voluntarily dropped their claims against Bhuiyan following a settlement. Rasool and Uddin were dismissed from the case.
Janet King is the counsel for Bhuiyan.
At the parties’ request, Manglona dismissed without prejudice the six claims in the lawsuit. That left only one claim—violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act. The trial started last Aug. 30.
There were 14 original plaintiffs in this case. The court first dismissed the claims of Khirul Basher following a settlement with Bhuiyan.
In their lawsuit, the 14 guards alleged that they paid a total of $130,262 in recruitment fees prior to their arrival on Saipan and that they were promised green cards.
In response to the lawsuit, Bhuiyan asserted that he is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act because his company is a small business.
Bhuiyan said his company that he formed in 2008 does not have gross sales of $500,000 a year.; therefore the District Court does not have jurisdiction over the FLSA claims raised by his former employees.
King argued that to qualify for coverage under the FLSA, Island Protection Services must have annual gross sales of $500,000 or more.
In his declaration in court, Bhuiyan said eight of the 14 employees are his relatives and their allegation that he has gross revenues in excess of $500,000 is untrue.
The plaintiffs sued Bhuiyan for allegedly not paying them the minimum wage and overtime and charging them with immigration filing fees.
The security guards demanded payment for unpaid wages and overtime compensation in an amount ranging from $3,355 to $21,593, for a total of $214,505.