KAH Transportes owner accused of harassing witnesses in human trafficking case
September 9, 2020
KAH Transportes owner Carl Hemphill allegedly harassed and threatened potential witnesses, according to a protection order filed on behalf of the trucker plaintiff who is suing Hemphill for human trafficking.
On Sept. 1, Jose Enrique Castillo Chadez filed a motion for protective order against Hemphill as litigation continues in his human trafficking case. In May 2018, Castillo filed a lawsuit against Hemphill, his wife and the businesses they own. Allegations include forced labor, human trafficking, Fair Labor Standards Act violations, Pennsylvania wage law violations, and breach of contract.
Hemphill recruited Castillo as a trucker in Mexico on an H-2B visa. However, Castillo’s role eventually turned into what is described as “forced labor and involuntary servitude” in the complaint. For more details about the case, click here.
Allegations of harassing and threatening witnesses in human trafficking case
Several weeks prior to filing the protective order request, Hemphill allegedly sent more than 300 harassing and threatening text messages over a period of more than three hours to a witness in Castillo’s case.
The witness who was allegedly harassed is a former employee of KAH Transportes, the company owned by Hemphill where Castillo was hired to be a trucker.
According to court documents, the witnesses received an unsolicited text message from Hemphill on July 30. For the next three hours, Hemphill would send the witness hundreds of messages. Castillo alleges that the messages accuse the witness of being “a lying rat” and a “sub human (sic) criminal.” Hemphill allegedly made references to the witness’ family members and their locations.
Similar to threats against Castillo outlined in the human trafficking complaint, Hemphill is accused of threatening to report the witness to legal authorities, including the IRS and federal and state agencies.
This is not the first time Hemphill has tried to use intimidation during litigation. The protective order request reveals that in July 2018 Hemphill and his wife gave information to the Homeland Security Investigations in Philadelphia about Castillo and other witnesses. According to Castillo, this was an attempt to have them removed from the United States. Hemphill has admitted to waiting outside one witness’ house taking “surreptitious photographs to obtain information with the aim of having that witness deported,” according to court documents.
Hemphill and his attorney also are accused of asking a series of irrelevant and harassing questions during a witness’ deposition in the human trafficking case. The most recent harassment via text message came after Hemphill retained additional counsel. Based on that information, Castillo claims “this indicates that court intervention is necessary to control (Hemphill’s) conduct.”
“Absent a specific court order, there is no reason to believe that Mr. Hemphill will respect the authority of this court or cease his harassing behavior,” the motion for protective order states.
This is not the first setback for Hemphill. In July, Judge Gerald Austin McHugh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a case between Hemphill and his insurer, Landmark Insurance Co. Hemphill sued the insurer for not defending him in Castillo’s lawsuit. However, the court determined that the insurance policy does not cover human trafficking.