Suit filed against American LaFrance

  • Friday, January 31, 2014

A week after the unexpected closing of American LaFrance’s Berkeley County location, a law firm has filed suit on behalf of laid off employees.

The company moved in August from its 450,000-square-foot Summerville factory to a 103,000-square-foot building at 164 Spring Grove Road, off Cypress Gardens Road in Moncks Corner.

Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman has announced via the firm’s website that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two former employees of American LaFrance LLC, the Moncks Corner-based fire truck manufacturer.

The two former employees filed suit against the plant claiming they and others weren’t given proper notice of termination under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) before being laid off Jan. 17, 2014. Both employees worked for American LaFrance for approximately 10 years until their termination.

Richardson Patrick attorney Jay Ward, who represents the plaintiffs, said the sudden and unexpected closing was not handled properly.

“These employees have been left out in the cold,” he said. “Not only did they lose wages and benefits, they lost the time they needed to search for new employment. Our firm has extensive experience in protecting the rights of workers locally and nationally, and our goal is to make sure these employees receive all they are due.”

American LaFrance abruptly closed its facilities in Moncks Corner, Ephrata, Pa., and Los Angeles, which resulted in the layoffs of approximately 150 employees.

In a written statement to employees obtained by firehouse.com, the 173-year-old manufacturer of fire, rescue and other emergency vehicles, announced it was closing its warehouse, production and service facilities in Moncks Corner; Ephrata, Pa.; and Los Angeles.

“Unfortunately, the company’s unexpected current financial condition requires the discontinuation of operations in these locations at this time and these facilities are not expected to reopen,” the statement read.

American LaFrance moved its headquarters and main assembly plant from North Charleston to Summerville in mid-2007.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2008 after having lost $104 million over the previous two years.

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