Indian guest workers win $14M award in trafficking case

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — 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 issued 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 green 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.