After the abrupt closing of multiple Ruby Tequila's restaurants in Amarillo and Lubbock, attorneys Jeff Blackburn & Jeremi Young have filed a lawsuit against the corporation.
"What we've filed now is a lawsuit that not only seeks to get these folks back the wages that weren't paid to them, but also seeks to get some other remedies for them," Blackburn said.
What Blackburn calls an unlawful shutdown has resulted in some former employees losing their homes and the ability to provide for their families.
"I can tell you there was one fellow that was employed as a dishwasher at Ruby's for a long, long time," said Blackburn. "That job was the single most important thing in his life and he and his wife are now living at a homeless shelter."
Young says this particular layoff, in which hundreds of employees in Amarillo and Lubbock lost jobs, affected more people than any other restaurant layoff in recent years.
"A layoff of this scope.. yes that's the first time I've seen it in the Panhandle," Young said. "I've seen it in larger cities where you have much larger employers and I cant say for sure its never happened but I have never seen it.
"We've looked at other WARN Act cases and haven't found any locally that even approach what we've seen here."
Blackburn said this isn't the first time owner Kevin Foote has been involved in this type of controversy. Foote's Amarillo franchise Bennigan's restaurant abruptly closed in 2009. Blackburn said he will pursue Foote until justice is served.
This isn't going to be a short term case but Blackburn says he and his colleagues are in it for the long haul. @NewsChannel10
"It's up to us to spot this guy and to stop people in the future from being victimized in the same way," Blackburn said. "From going to work with high hopes that turn out to be false later on and then losing everything they have. Not to mention the damage that gets done to these communities."
NewsChannel 10 reached out to R. Tequila Acquisition, one of the six groups named in this suit, their lawyers tell us they were not aware of the suit being filed and do not have a statement at this time.
Editor's Note: The full lawsuit filed Thursday can be found below.