Indian guest workers win $14M award in trafficking case
NEW ORLEANS - A federal jury has awarded $14.1 million to five Indian guest workers who claimed they were defrauded and made to live in squalid conditions after being lured to work for an Alabama-based marine and fabrication company following Hurricane Katrina.
The jury handed up its verdict Wednesday against Mobile, Alabama-based Signal International LLC. and its associates in a trial overseen by U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan. More than 200 other workers' claims are pending against the company.
The suit alleged Signal falsely promised to help the workers apply for and receive greens cards. But the plaintiffs claimed they were the victims of a labor trafficking scheme by Signal, an immigration lawyer and an Indian labor recruiter.
The plaintiffs were represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama civil rights group.