A multimillion dollar award to 32 mentally disabled men who had worked in West Liberty will be reduced. A federal jury in Davenport ruled on May first that a Texas company should pay the men $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.
A law that caps damages will reduced the award to the men to $1.6-million. The men would each be eligible for $100,000 each — including back pay — compared to $7.5-million under the original award.
It’s unknown how much money can actually be recovered as the company is now shut down.