Bay County commissioner Tommy Hamm sues Netflix over docuseries ' Immigration Nation'
PANAMA CITY — Bay County Commissioner Tommy Hamm filed a lawsuit March 4 against Netflix and those involved with a documentary series on immigration that accuses him and his company, Winterfell Construction, of wage theft.
The 101-page lawsuit lists numerous items, including emotional distress and defamation. Hamm said back in August, when the public caught wind of the series, that he would take legal action against Netflix and those involved with the documentary.
The group Resilience Force, which accused Hamm of wage theft, was listed in the lawsuit along with Netflix. Individuals listed in Hamm's lawsuit include Saket Soni, executive director of Resilience Force.
In episode four of the docuseries, "Immigration Nation," several Mexican workers said to Resilience Force that they worked for Hamm's Winterfell construction company in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The workers claimed they were not paid for their work.
The workers displayed their work vests with Winterfell's name and the workers said the homes they worked on had Winterfell's sign in the yards.
Hamm responded to the allegations in August that the responsibility fell on the subcontractors who actually hired the workers to pay them. Hamm said he never met the workers until they confronted him in the Bay County Commission chambers, which was part of episode four.
Netflix and Soni have not responded for comment on the lawsuit.
Hamm's legal team said the "Immigration Nation" documentary is a case of what happens "when people weaponize misinformation to advance their agendas, demonize their political opponents and organize and mobilize the public behind false propaganda." The lawsuit alleges the same misinformation that is destroying lives in America, destroyed Hamm's life.
In August, Hamm said he was receiving hundreds of phone calls from all over the world threatening his family's life. Hamm also said that the scene where the group, led by Soni, surrounded his home, has traumatized his wife and children.
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Soni said the video shows they didn't surround the Hamms' home. Soni also said that Hamm used a "bully tactic" to get information from the workers who are claiming wage theft.
Hamm's legal team provided a statement about the lawsuit.
"Tommy Hamm took legal action to protect his family, his business and himself against what the lawsuit explains is a fabricated story the public has been misled into believing to be true," the statement said. "The complaint lays out in detail what happened to Tommy and Winterfell and why they believe those to blame should be held accountable for the consequences of their actions.”
The lawsuit demands judgment against the defendants, including awarding compensatory damages in appropriate amounts to be established at trial, costs associated with this action and such other relief as the court deems just and appropriate to protect Hamm's rights and interests.
Hamm demanded a trial by jury on all the issues listed in the suit.