Resource: Signal International Lawsuits

By: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

February 28, 2015

The SPLC filed suit on behalf of guest workers from India who were defrauded and exploited in a labor trafficking scheme engineered by a Gulf Coast marine services company, an immigration lawyer and an Indian labor recruiter who lured hundreds of workers to a Mississippi shipyard with false promises of permanent U.S. residency.

After a seven-year legal battle culminating in a four-week trial, a federal jury in New Orleans awarded $14 million in compensatory and punitive damages to five Indian guest workers in February 2015. It found that the company, Signal International, and businesses owned by New Orleans lawyer Malvern C. Burnett and India-based recruiter Sachin Dewan engaged in labor trafficking, forced labor, fraud, racketeering and discrimination. The jury also found that one of the five plaintiffs was a victim of false imprisonment and retaliation.