2 File Separate Suits Against Bill Heard: Both Charge Car Dealer Didn’t Provide Enough Notice Before Closing

The Arizona Republic - Jane Larson
October 7, 2008

SCOTTSDALE – Former Bill Heard Chevrolet employees have sued the shuttered dealer, alleging it violated federal labor laws when it failed to give workers 60 days’ notice that it was closing its dealerships.

Lawyers for Edward Kratzel, an automotive technician at Bill Heard’s Las Vegas dealership, and Adam Kettell, an employee at the Huntsville, Ala., dealership, are vying for a class-action designation for their lawsuits. They also want Bill Heard to pay 60 days’ wages and benefits to 2,000 employees laid off when it closed 14 dealerships nationwide.

Kretzel and the New York law firm of Outten & Golden LLP allege that the Columbus, Ga.-based auto dealer violated the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, act by abruptly closing its dealerships last month.

Kettell is represented by Morris, Conchin and King of Huntsville.

Bill Heard’s Scottsdale dealership closed Sept. 12 and 148 employees were laid off.

Bill Heard Enterprises, once the nation’s largest Chevrolet chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Sept. 28.

The lawsuit alleges that the company should have given employees 60 days’ notice of the layoffs and should have continued paying wages and benefits during that period.

Both lawsuits were filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the northern district of Alabama, the same court that is handling the bankruptcy case.

A hearing on the class-action status is scheduled for Nov. 6.