Government Seeks Damages For Disabled Iowa Turkey Plant Workers

Officials from Muscatine County and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation huddle on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 near property used by Henry's Turkey Service in Atalissa, Iowa. State inspectors have shut down a building that housed mentally retarded men brought from Texas to work in a West Liberty turkey processing plant. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Harry Baumert)


By Richard Pratt

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A government attorney is asking jurors to award damages to 32 mentally disabled workers who he says were subjected to around-the-clock discrimination by a Texas company that profited from their work at an Iowa turkey plant.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney Robert Canino told jurors Tuesday the former workers for Henry's Turkey Service suffered "broken lives" because of conditions they endured while living at a run-down bunkhouse and working at West Liberty Foods.

In closing arguments, he told jurors they should award compensatory and punitive damages to each worker.

The EEOC sued Henry's, based in Goldthwaite, Texas, over allegations the company discriminated against the men.

Company attorney David Scieszinski says any isolated problems weren't the company's fault.

Jurors have started deliberations. The federal court trial started last week in Davenport.

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