NEW ORLEANS (CN) - After Hurricane Katrina, Signal International recruited more than 500 workers from India and the United Arab Emirates to work in Texas and Mississippi, charged them "travel fees" of up to $20,000 apiece, then abused them with "psychological coercion, threats of serious harm and physical restraint," while attempting to deport anyone who objectd, a class-action claims in Federal Court. more
Twelve named plaintiffs say many members of the class went into debt, spent their life's saving and sold their family homes "to pay mandatory recruitment, immigration processing, and travel fees charged by Defendants totaling as much as $20,000 per worker."
They claim Signal's agents in India and the UAE "caused Plaintiffs and other class members to believe that if they did not work for Signal under the auspices of temporary and Signal-restricted H-2B guestworker visas, they would suffer abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process, physical restrain, and/or other serious harms."
They claim the attempted illegal deportations forced one worker to attempt suicide, that Signal security guards illegally imprisoned three workers without food, water or toilet facilities, and did this, among other reasons, to instill fear in other workers.
They demand punitive damages for assault and battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the Ku Klux Klan Act, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, and labor laws.
Here are the defendants: Signal International LLC; Malvern C. Burnett; Gulf Coast Immigration Law Center LLC; Law Offices of Malvern C. Burnett APC; Indo-Ameri Soft LLC; Kurella Rao; J & M Associates Inc. of Mississippi; Global Resources Inc.; Michael Pol; Sachin Dewan; Dewan Consultants Pvt. Ltd. aka Medtech Consultants.
Plaintiffs' lead counsel is Tracie Washington with the Louisiana Justice Institute.
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