“Judge cuts settlement for mentally disabled workers”

On May 3, I reported the story about a huge jury verdict for mentally disabled workers who had been treated as virtual slaves by their employer.

And I’ve also written occasionally about how a big jury verdict can be a double-edged sword, how it will often be appealed, how years can go by, how the verdict can be substantially reduced before any real compensation goes to the plaintiffs.

Yesterday, the New York Times, via A.P., provided an especially disheartening, if remarkably rapid, example:

Iowa: Judge Cuts Settlement For Mentally Disabled Workers

A judge has reduced a landmark $240 million verdict to $1.6 million for 32 mentally disabled workers who suffered years of abuse by their caretakers. Senior Judge Charles Wolle of Federal District Court entered the judgment on Tuesday against Henry’s Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Tex. Judge Wolle said he must limit the judgment to $50,000 per employee, the cap included in the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses with fewer than 101 workers. Jurors found on May 1 that Henry’ discriminated against the men, who were hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant, and awarded each $7.5 million.

If this miserable decision is indeed part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I strongly hope that Congress will consider writing an addendum law or a separate one, as they did in the Lilly Ledbetter case.

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