National digest: Mentally disabled men win $240 million in suit

May 1, 2013
Iowa
Disabled men win $240 million in suit

A jury on Wednesday awarded $240 million to 32 mentally disabled men for what government lawyers say was years of abuse by a Texas company that arranged for them to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant and oversaw their care, work and lodging.

The award handed out by a federal jury in Davenport was the largest in the 48-year history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit against Henry’s Turkey Service.

The jury determined that the now-defunct Goldthwaite, Tex., company had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by creating a hostile environment and imposing discriminatory conditions of employment on the men. It awarded each man $7.5 million in damages.

The verdict is in addition to $1.3 million in back wages that a judge awarded last year. The men had been working at the West Liberty Foods plant under Henry’s oversight since the 1970s, but they had never received a raise from the $65 per month that Henry’s paid them after deducting what it said were the costs of room and board.

— Associated Press

New York
Authorities dislodge possible 9/11 debris

Police used a pulley system on Wednesday to remove a suspected Sept. 11, 2001, plane part from between two buildings near the World Trade Center site, and the medical examiner said no potential human remains had been found there.

About six officers raised the jagged, 255-pound metal piece, which contains cranks, levers and bolts. They took it over a three-story wall, lowered it into a courtyard and carried it through a basement.

The part was discovered a week ago, wedged in a narrow space between an apartment building and a mosque.

Boeing officials told police the part came from one of its 767 airliners. Both hijacked planes that struck the towers, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were Boeing 767s.

— Associated Press

Pennsylvania
Jurors are still out in abortion murder trial

A Philadelphia jury deliberated for its first full day Wednesday without reaching a verdict in the murder trial of an abortion provider.

The jury is set to return Thursday to keep weighing murder charges against Kermit Gosnell, 72, who is charged with killing five people — a patient and four viable babies allegedly born alive.

He also is accused of performing abortions after Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit and running a corrupt organization.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon, after hearing six weeks of evidence.

— Associated Press

Boy kills sister with gun: A 5-year-old boy accidentally killed his 2-year-old sister in rural southern Kentucky with a rifle he had received as a gift last year, authorities said. Cumberland County Coroner Gary White told the Lexington Herald-Leader­ that the boy had received the .22-caliber rifle as a gift. “It’s a Crickett,” White said, referring to a company that specifically makes guns, clothes and books for children. “It’s a little rifle for a kid. . . . The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun.”

Kriss Kross member dead: Chris Kelly, a member of the 1990s rap duo Kriss Kross, has died in Atlanta, authorities said. An official from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said Kelley, 34, was pronounced dead Wednesday evening at the Atlanta Medical Center. The cause of death is not known. Kelly, known as “Mac Daddy,” performed alongside Chris Smith, known as “Daddy Mac.” They were best known for the song “Jump.”

May snow in Colo., Wyo., Midwest: Parts of Colorado, Wyoming and the Midwest are beginning May with a round of wet snow. Sioux Falls, S.D., got its first May snowfall in 37 years. A rare May winter storm warning was also in effect for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

— From news services

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