The battle to collect the largest EEOC verdict on record continues. A U.S. district judge has overridden a confidential settlement involving a Texas land deal that would have re-directed over half a million dollars away from a class of 32 intellectually disabled former employees of Hill Country Farms in Texas.
In 2013, a federal jury in Iowa awarded $240 million to 32 intellectually disabled employees of the poultry processor, which was based in Goldwaite in the northern part of Texas Hill Country until it went out of business in 2009.
The jury heard tales of workers being virtually imprisoned on turkey farms working for as little as $65 a month while being denied medical care and being subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
Eventually, the EEOC verdict was reduced to $1.6 million to meet Civil Rights Act damage limits. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) secured a $1.7 million judgment against the employer for back pay owed the workers. To date, the government has only collected $272,000, despite judgments totaling more than $3 million.
Investigators recently uncovered a secret deal to transfer $600,000 of company assets to relatives of the owners through a Mills County land deal. The U.S. attorney filed an emergency injunction to stop the deal and secure the money for the plaintiffs.
The federal judge labeled the deal as fraudulent and redirected the funds to the EEOC and WHD for distribution to the victims.