Cases

TAE H. KIM, YOUNG M. CHOI, YONG H. JIN, DONG M. JOO, HONG S. KIM, CHUL G. PARK, EUTEMIO MORALES, R. JULIAN VENTURA, & EDUARDO AGUILAR v. KUM GANG INC., JI SUNG YOO a/k/a JISUNG YOO, YI YONG YOO a/k/a YIYONG YOO, KYUNG RAE YOO, CHUNSIK YOO, and MYUNGJA LEE

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TAE H. KIM, YOUNG M. CHOI, YONG H. JIN, DONG M. JOO, HONG S. KIM, CHUL G. PARK, EUTEMIO MORALES, R. JULIAN VENTURA, & EDUARDO AGUILAR v. KUM GANG INC., JI SUNG YOO a/k/a JISUNG YOO, YI YONG YOO a/k/a YIYONG YOO, KYUNG RAE YOO, CHUNSIK YOO, and MYUNGJA LEE
Court: 
SDNY (Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger at trial); and (2) SDNY (J. Sweet).
Docket: 
1:15-cv-03110 (S.D.N.Y. Apr 21, 2015)
Case: 

A group of restaurant workers comprised of Korean waiters and Latino bussers sued this Flushing Queens Korean restaurant Kum Gang Sun (KGS) and its owner and chief executive (Ji Sung Yoo) and several managers in August 2012 for failing to pay minimum wage and overtime - one of the bussers reported working 20-hour days without any overtime payment; illegally keeping some of their tips; and forcing some employees to work at the owner’s home mowing the lawn and shoveling snow, and picking cabbage at a friend’s farm on their day off without additional compensation.
 
Upon filing the complaint, Plaintiffs were granted a temporary restraining order barring the employer from taking any retaliatory action against the plaintiffs or contacting the immigration authorities. After a four-day bench trial in June 2014, the court in March 2015 issued a 151-page decision awarding almost $2.7 million dollars in back wages and damages to the plaintiffs. The Court also determined that the restaurant had systematically created false employee time cards in an attempt to avoid detection of being found in violation of the labor laws.
 
Defendants simultaneously filed an appeal and Chapter 11 bankruptcy on behalf of the restaurant.  On June 2, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court issued a Confirmation Order approving KGS's Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization Requiring the corporate defendant to pay $375,000 to the unsecured creditors including the plaintiff judgment debtors who have received partial payment in satisfaction of their judgment.
 
LatinoJustice and our co-counsel at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund and Shearman & Sterling subsequently filed new “clawback” action (Kim v. Yoo II) against the restaurant owner seeking to rescind several realty transactions he had made to family members for nominal consideration. After week-long trial in early 2018, the court on April 18, court issued decision finding that defendant Yoo had fraudulently transferred property including Manhattan condominium, house in Queens, and commercial & residential property in Brooklyn to family members in order to avoid satisfying prior wage theft judgment and must therefore be set aside, and directed defendant’s family to return $950,000 in mortgage proceeds they had received on the conveyed properties. Defendant has filed another appeal which is pending.