July 31, 2014

Jury awards former Henry’s Turkey Service workers $7.5 million each

A federal jury in Davenport today ruled that a Texas company should pay 32 mentally disabled workers in Iowa $240-million in damages for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The 32 men were sent by Henry’s Turkey Service in Texas to Iowa where they worked in a West Liberty meat-processing plant. The disabled men were paid just 41-cents an hour and lived in an old school building converted into a bunkhouse in Atalissa.

The bunkhouse was shut down in 2009 when Iowa officials deemed it unsafe and found the Texas company lacked a license to care for the disabled adults. The jury’s ruling awards each of the men $7.5 million.

It’s unlikely the now defunct company can pay that amount, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has suggested it will seek to recover company assets worth up to $4 million.