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First—Criminal Murder Trial, Second—Civil Lawsuit

December 9, 2014 Legal Team

Matt and Grace Huang, an Asian American married couple, were sent overseas to Qatar as engineers for the Colorado-based MWH Global. Matt, who had worked for the company since 1999, had been assigned to Qatar to improve the country’s infrastructure in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Huangs, along with their three adopted children from Africa, moved to Qatar together in 2012. Upon arriving in Qatar, the family found that characteristics about themselves were not readily accepted in the country.

The family’s lawsuit against Matt’s employer alleges that the company failed to provide any sort of cultural training or additional security for the family. In a country were “East Asians are regarded as one of the lowest ‘racial classes of individuals,’” the company had an obligation to provide some sort of protection, and thus are liable for negligence. Additionally, in Qatar, adoption is prohibited, so to have children of a different race than the couple was also an unforgivable circumstance.

In January 2013, Matt came home and found one of his adopted daughters, Gloria, age 8, collapsed in her bedroom. Gloria, originally adopted from Ghana, had a severe eating disorder caused by a parasitic infection. The infection, in turn, caused abnormal and dangerous starvation and then binge-eating.

Matt rushed Gloria to the hospital, where the girl later died. Following her passing, Matt and Grace were arrested and charged with her death. The government accused the Americans of attempting to harvest Gloria’s organs and selling them on the black market. The couple’s two other children, both sons, were placed in an orphanage until they returned to the United States to live with the Huangs’ family.

According to the Doha, the capital city of Qatar, police force, the Huangs “had no legitimate reason to adopt children who were not ‘good looking’ and who did not share their ‘hereditary traits.’”

After over a year of trials and court hearings, the couple was released last week from custody and allowed to return to the United States. This is where the civil lawsuit against the company begins.

Matt, who filed the suit in LA County, alleges that MWH Global was not only negligent for not providing protection, but was also liable for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He further accuses the company of abandoning the couple in their time of need. The family sold their Temple City home to pay growing legal bills. Matt also claims the company issued him an ultimatum and made him quit.

MWH Global replied that it had offered plenty of assistance to the couple. According to a statement issued by the company, MWH had provided thousands upon thousands of dollars on their employee’s defense, met with the U.S. Embassy on the couples’ behalf, and routinely checked in on both the couple and their children to ensure they were taken care of. The company also alleges that Matt resigned when MWH offered him a leave of absence from his job while his legal issues were being worked out.

The Hunags say they suffered profound psychological trauma, physical and sexual abuse, and are now $2 million in debt.

Source: LA Times

Image Source: Daily Mail