(Pena v. American Meat Packing Corp., 362 F.3d 418 [7th Cir. 2004]) http://openjurist.org/362/f3d/418/pena-v-american-meat-packing-corporation
In the year prior to its closing, a meat packing plant with 350 employees received numerous (over 30) “noncompliance records” from the Agriculture Department (USDA), citing serious failures to maintain sanitary conditions and warning of possible “regulatory or administrative action.” A handwritten letter delivered on September 17, 2001 carried the same warning. On October 31, 2001 the USDA withdrew inspection after a third incident of rodent droppings, forcing a halt in production. Production had to be stopped again due to unsanitary conditions on November 2. On November 7, the company’s request to ship its product was denied and the company was ordered by the USDA to destroy the suspect meat. The company had made a number of changes in equipment and operating procedures over this period. On November 15, the company detailed plans to spend $3 million for new coolers if the plant would be allowed to operate, but the USDA again refused permission. Later the same day the owner decided to close the plant. Employees were informed when they showed up for work the next day that their employment had been terminated. A group of employees sued the company for not providing adequate notice of the plant closing. What was the issue in this case? What should the court decide and why? Look up the case on the Internet. What were some of the indicators in analyzing the case? What did the court decide and why?
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