$240 Million Verdict For Disabled Iowa Workers To Be Slashed To About $1.6 Million

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)

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By Richard Pratt

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A landmark $240 million verdict for 32 mentally disabled workers who suffered years of abuse will be reduced to about $1.6 million because of a law capping their damages.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Henry's Turkey Service agreed in legal briefs filed Friday that each plaintiff can recover $50,000 apiece, plus interest, under federal law, compared to $7.5 million a jury awarded each May 1.

Each plaintiff will also be entitled to separate back payments averaging about $50,000. U.S. Senior Judge Charles Wolle will enter a final judgment soon.

Jurors found that Henry's Turkey Service discriminated against the men, who they hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The men lived in a filthy bunkhouse and faced verbal and physical abuse at home and at work.

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