American Civil Liberties Union

$20-million settlement reached in guest-worker lawsuits

$20-million settlement reached in guest-worker lawsuits

An Alabama marine construction company has agreed to pay $20 million to more than 200 guest workers from India who alleged they were kept in labor camps so squalid and crowded that one worker attempted suicide.

The settlement, announced Tuesday, resolves 11 lawsuits against Signal International filed in Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. The company has declared bankruptcy, so the settlement must be approved in bankruptcy court.

Signal International brought guest workers to Pascagoula, Miss., and other sites in 2006 and 2007 to repair oil rigs and other heavy machinery in the Gulf of Mexico that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

The men were trained in India as welders...