United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
BARBARO ROSAS and GUADALUPE TAPIA, as individuals and on behalf of all other similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
SARBANAND FARMS, LLC, et al., Defendants.
HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' class
notification update and request for additional time to
evaluate class opt-outs (Dkt. No. 111). Having thoroughly
considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record,
the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby DENIES
the motion for the reasons explained herein.
Court set forth the facts of this case in a prior order and
will not repeat them here. (See Dkt. No. 74.) In
February 2019, the Court approved Plaintiffs' request to
provide class notice via text message, radio advertisement,
and publication on two web platforms, and modified the
content of the proposed notices. (See Dkt. Nos. 90,
92.) Each of the notices informed class members that they
could not be retaliated against for participating in this
action. (See Dkt. Nos. 75-1 at 2, 75-2 at 2, 91 at
1.) Plaintiffs provided notice to the class members in
accordance with the Court's orders. (Dkt. Nos. 111 at 2,
112 at 2.)
deadline for class members to opt out of the lawsuit passed
on March 29, 2019. (Dkt. No. 111 at 1.) 85 class members
located in the area served by Defendant CSI Visa Processing
S.C.'s (“CSI”) Celaya, Guanajuato office in
Mexico opted out of the lawsuit, which comprised 93 percent
of the total opt-outs received. (Id.) Plaintiffs
assert that, “When class members stated a reason for
opting out, the predominant reason stated was that they were
concerned about compromising their ability to retain or get
H-2A work in the United States in 2019 and in the
future.” (Dkt. No. 112 at 3.) Plaintiff's counsel
notified Defendant CSI's counsel about the high rate of
opt-outs in the Celaya area. (Dkt. No. 114 at 1-2.) Defendant
CSI reported that its Celaya office staff had been
reinstructed to not retaliate against class members, and that
“there had been a rumor spread in the CSI Celaya office
by a class member (not a CSI employee) that upon legal advice
from a Mexican attorney, there was no need to participate in
the class action.” (Id.)
request an additional 45 days “to contact class members
who opted out from [the Celaya] region to attempt to allay
any fears about retaliation.” (Dkt. No. 111 at 4.)
Plaintiffs also state that Defendant CSI would have an
opportunity to have its Celaya staff communicate with class
members seeking H-2A work in the United States that they will
not be retaliated against, and also to “implement a
system so workers and Plaintiffs' counsel can track
whether workers are obtaining H-2A jobs on a
non-discriminatory basis.” (Id.)
have not set forth a legal basis for their request of an
extension of the opt-out window. (See Dkt. Nos. 111,
125.) The class notices approved by the Court expressly
informed class members that they could not be retaliated
against for participating in the lawsuit. (See Dkt.
Nos. 75-1 at 2, 75-2 at 2, 91 at 1.) Defendant CSI states in
a declaration that it has not retaliated against anyone for
participating in the lawsuit, and Plaintiffs have not
provided evidence to the contrary. (See Dkt. Nos.
117 at 1-2, 125.) Even if a class member started a rumor that
misinformed others about the effect of their participation in
this lawsuit, such conduct does not warrant Plaintiffs'
requested relief because the class notice unequivocally
stated that class members are protected from retaliation.
Therefore, Plaintiffs' request for additional time to
evaluate opt-outs (Dkt. No. 111) is DENIED.
 Counsel for Defendant CSI learned that
a class member, Miguel Angel Gordillo Martinez, spoke with an
attorney in Mexico. (Dkt. No. 118 at 1; see Dkt. No.
119-1) (declaration of Gordillo Martinez). Gordillo Martinez
did not want to participate in the lawsuit because he
“felt that the lawsuit did not apply to [him] because
[he] never had a negative experience with” Defendants.
(Dkt. No. 119-1 at 1.) Gordillo Martinez also declared that
he was informed by a Mexican attorney “that class
actions can take a long time and that a reward in such
lawsuits is not guaranteed, [but] my final decision to opt
out was completely voluntary.” (Id. at 2.)
Plaintiffs' counsel contacted Gordillo Martinez after he
opted out, and he informed them that he was comfortable with
his decision to opt out and none of Defendant CSI's
Celaya office staff had threatened to retaliate against class
Plaintiffs' counsel later contacted Gordillo
Martinez to ask for the name of the Mexican attorney. (Dkt.
No. 126 at 2-3.) Gordillo Martinez sated that he did not
speak with a Mexican attorney, but rather “a friend of
a friend, who was, Mr. Gordillo believed, studying law,
however, Mr. ...