EJC Recovers $40,000 for Unpaid Construction Worker

From left: EJC attorney Andrew Hass with Eduardo and his check

In another recent victory, the EJC recently recovered $40,000 in unpaid wages and damages for a worker who performed weeks of unpaid carpentry work at a local restaurant.

In 2011, Eduardo Hernandez worked for several weeks performing renovations at a now-defunct restaurant in the Brookland area of D.C. He was not paid anything for his work. Eduardo came to the EJC’s Clinic with this wage issue in 2012, and the EJC referred the case to a major law firm, Crowell & Moring, in late 2012. Crowell & Moring filed suit in court, seeking Eduardo’s $13,000 in unpaid wages and additional damages. After the employer did not respond in court, Eduardo received a default judgment for approximately $70,000 in wages, damages, and attorneys’ fees. Then it was time to collect on the judgment.

In 2014, after several unsuccessful attempts to find a bank account belonging to the employer,  Crowell attorneys sought the EJC’s help in collecting on the judgment. The EJC made some initial efforts to reach out to the employer to settle the case voluntarily, to no avail. Then in fall 2015, one attempt at bank account garnishment proved wildly successful, uncovering a bank account with nearly $40,000. But shortly after realizing that this large sum of money was now unavailable, the employer declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law then required EJC to cease any efforts to collect the employer’s money.

For months, EJC could do nothing to collect these funds, as the bankruptcy case dragged on. Then the employer stopped filing the necessary paperwork in his bankruptcy case. After several more months of inactivity, the bankruptcy court dismissed the case, allowing EJC to continue its collection efforts. Finally, in December 2016, the EJC delivered a check to Eduardo. “This effort was not easy and required a lot of patience,” Eduardo said. “But it was a great result.”

The EJC could not help unpaid workers like Eduardo without contributions from foundations, law firms, and most importantly, individuals like you. Please considering donating to help us continue these efforts.