Poor Rakesh Aggarwal could soon become Poorer Rakesh Aggarwal.
Yes, after all, the owner of the Baluchi’s Indian restaurant chain in New York City might now have to fork out close to a million dollars ($967,000 to be precise) in a proposed legal settlement with some of his current and former employees.
Our heart goes out to the Aggarwal bloke.
A million dollars is still a lot of money.
Plus the whole legal process of the last 18 months, including the depositions, must have been very stressful to Baluchi’s owner Rakesh Aggarwal.
We won’t be surprised if the legal strain has subtracted a few years from Rakesh’s life.
Origin of Baluchi’s / Rakesh Aggarwal’s Nightmare
Rakesh Aggarwal’s nightmare started in November 2008 when some of his former and current employees sued Rakesh and his Baluchi’s Indian restaurants alleging unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime wages, misappropriated tips, unauthorized deductions from their wages and unpaid spread-of-hour wages among other things.
The employees, who were waiters, cooks, dishwashers or delivery persons, alleged violation of federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.
Now the employees who filed the law-suit have reached a settlement with Rakesh Aggarwal and his Baluchi’s restaurants.
The legal papers relating to the proposed settlement have already been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in NYC but is subject to final approval of the court.
Under the settlement, the defendants i.e. Rakesh Aggarwal and Baluchi’s have agreed to pay $967,000 (minus of course attorneys fees and administrative costs) to the current and former employees who qualify.
According to the court documents, the money is to be paid over a two and a half year period because of the financial condition of Rakesh Aggarwal, whose assets in the U.S. are said to be largely illiquid and consist of real estate and personal property.
Rakesh Aggarwal and Baluchi’s have denied any liability and wrongdoing and said they decided to settle the case to avoid the continued expenses, burdens and uncertainties of litigation.
It is important to note that the court has not decided who is right or wrong.
While we can’t vouch for either side in the Baluchi’s case, we have come across other Indian restaurants (in New Jersey and California) where waiters have told us that they are not paid the tips left by diners.
By the way, the former and current employees of Baluchi’s who filed the law-suit were represented by Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart, 11 Broadway, Suite 2150, New York, New York 10004 Ph: 212.847.8315
Related Legal Documents:
Proposed Settlement (If you are too lazy or impatient, head to Exhibit 2 P.21-58 in the PDF document)