Judge Throws Out Suit Against El Pollo Inka

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing the owners of the El Pollo Inka restaurant chain of exploiting their immigrant workers after attorneys for those employees failed to show up for a scheduled court hearing. Lawyers for the former waiters blame a procedural mix-up and vow that the case will go forward, attorney Christopher Nicoll said. In a September lawsuit, employees Carlos Vargas, Monica Gonzales and Alejandro Flores claim they were paid only tips and no hourly wages or overtime when working at three of El Pollo Inka's seven Southland locations. Last week, Nicoll amended that suit to add 18 plaintiffs and correct some errors in the original filing--a move he contends should have eliminated the need for Monday's hearing. U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins apparently thought differently and granted a motion by El Pollo Inka attorney Vital D'Carpio to dismiss the case. The ruling has no bearing on a separate lawsuit filed in January by eight El Pollo Inka workers who made similar claims.

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