Former workers say DJSP, David J. Stern failed to notify them of mass layoffs
A lawsuit filed by four employees fired from DJSP Enterprises (DJSP) and the Law Offices of David J. Stern allege that they and hundreds of other employees didn’t receive adequate notice when they lost their jobs at the embattled firms. The federal lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges that DJSP and Stern failed to comply with a federal law governing mass layoffs. The firms did not provide a 60-day advance written notice of the layoffs under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, commonly known by its acronym WARN, according to the lawsuit. “We won’t have a comment until we can analyze the complaint,” said Jeffrey Tew, an attorney with Tew-Cardenas, speaking on behalf of DJSP and the Law Offices of David J. Stern. The lawsuit seeks back pay for the four plaintiffs and all similarly affected employees. Three of the former employees are residents of Broward County and one is a resident of Miami-Dade County. According to the lawsuit, the firms terminated employees on Sept. 23, Oct. 14, Oct. 21-22, Nov. 5 and Nov. 18. During that time, an estimated 700 of a total of 1,200 employees were let go, according to the lawsuit. The first WARN notice should have gone out on July 26 for the Sept. 23 layoffs to comply with the WARN Act, the suit alleges. While some employees received a severance, it was less than the equivalent pay of a 60-day notice, according to the complaint. DJSP filed a WARN notice with the state of Florida on Nov. 9. It was signed by the firm’s human resources director. The notice, dated Nov. 3, states that 356 employees from DJS Processing, 38 workers from the Law Offices of David J. Stern and 41 employees from Timios would be laid off between Nov. 3-12. DJSP is the public, processing arm of foreclosure attorney David J. Stern. The law firm and three others are part of an investigation into foreclosure practices by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. Stern's firm also recently lost business from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in connection with the probe. Citigroup also suspended referrals to the firm. In a Nov. 22 regulatory filing, DJSP said it had hired Stephen J. Bernstein as chairman of the board, president and CEO. Bernstein had been serving an interim role after the October resignation of Stern as DJSP's chairman. The author holds no relevant investments. Write to Kerry Curry.