Individually, and on behalf of those similarly situated, Jorge Garcia has filed a class action lawsuit against Empire Scaffold, alleging the company owes him and others for bonus pay for work at Motiva's expansion project.

The suit was filed Jan. 12 in Jefferson County District Court and claims the amount in controversy does not exceed $5 million for all class members.

According to the lawsuit, Empire Scaffold employed several hundred people to work at the Motiva Crude Expansion Project at its Port Arthur refinery. The job was a massive undertaking and required "ramp up" and "step down" labor over a number of years. As peak labor demand waned, so did the desire to work the project.

Accordingly, Motiva and its contractors instituted a program entitling workers to a deferred additional pay bonus in the face of inevitable layoffs.

The additional bonus pay included $1 per hour for straight time and $1.50 for overtime for all helpers and labors. All other crafts would be paid $2 for straight time and $3 for overtime, the suit states.

In December 2011, Garcia was part of a reduction in force but did not receive the agreed upon compensation.

In addition to his back pay, Garcia is seeking exemplary damages.

Beaumont attorney John Werner of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm represents him.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, is assigned to the case.

Case No. D191-658

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