The jury ruled that Signal International, New Orleans lawyer Malvern C. Burnett and India-based recruiter Sachin Dewan engaged in labour trafficking, fraud, racketeering and discrimination. The jury also found that one of the five plaintiffs-Jacob Joseph Kadakkarappally, Hemant Khuttan, Andrews Issac Padaveettiyl, Sony Vasudevan Sulekha and Palanyandi Thangamani-was a victim of false imprisonment and retaliation.
"The defendants exploited our clients, put their own profits over the lives of these honourable workers, and tried to deny them their day in court," said lead attorney Alan Howard of Southern Poverty Law Centre.
"But they persevered and after seven long years have received the justice they so well deserve." "This historic verdict puts American companies on notice that if they exploit the flaws in our temporary worker programme, they will be held accountable and punished," said Chandra Bhatnagar, co-counsel in the case and staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights programme.