University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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S P E C I A L   C O L L E C T I O N
Signal International Guest Worker Cases

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Alabama-based marine services company Signal International and its recruiters promised permanent residency and good employment repairing oilrigs and ships in the Gulf Coast region to over 500 Indian men, in exchange for recruiting fees ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each. In fact, the guestworkers’ H2-B visas were temporary and no green cards were available to them. Upon arrival in the United States, the men were forced into racially-segregated, guarded labor camps where they were given no option but to pay further steep fees for overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. Their supervisors created a racially hostile work environment, forced them into the least desirable jobs, and threatened to deport those who reported the abuses.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit, David v. Signal International, for the abuses suffered by the guestworkers. The plaintiffs sought class action status, but that was denied. The litigation then split into 11 suits brought by groups of guestworkers and one suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. All 12 suits are summarized in the links on this page.

All told, the Signal International litigation was one of the largest human trafficking cases in U.S. history. The litigation resulted in a $14.1 million jury verdict in David for five plaintiffs, a $5 million settlement in the EEOC case for 476 guestworkers, and an apology from Signal’s CEO. Signal declared bankruptcy in June 2015, and the settlement is being administered as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
The below cases represent a special subset of the full Clearinghouse collection.
Your search returned 12 results Save Search As:       
1 Achari v. Signal International, LLC
2:13-cv-06218 (E.D. La.)
Filed 2013 - Closed 2017
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0012
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans
Coding Complete
2 Chakkiyattil v. Signal International, LLC
2:13-cv-06219 (E.D. La.)
Filed 2013 - Closed
Signal International, Inc.
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0013
Pascagoula
Coding Complete
3 Krishnakutty v. Signal International, LLC
2:13-cv-06220 (E.D. La.)
Filed 2013 - Closed
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0014
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
4 Devassy v. Signal International, LLC
2:13-cv-06221 (E.D. La.)
Filed 2013 - Case Ongoing
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0015
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
5 Singh v. Signal International, LLC
2:14-cv-00732 (E.D. La.)
Filed 2013 - Closed
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0016
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
6 Samuel v. Signal International, LLC
1:13-cv-00323 (E.D. Tex.)
Filed 2013 - Case Ongoing
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-TX-0035
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
7 Joseph v. Signal International, LLC
1:13-cv-00324 (E.D. Tex.)
Filed 2013 - Case Ongoing
Billy R. Wilks
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-TX-0036
Coding Complete
8 Meganathan v. Signal International, LLC
1:13-cv-00497 (E.D. Tex.)
Filed 2013 - Case Ongoing
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-TX-0037
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
9 Kambala v. Signal International, LLC
1:13-cv-00498 (E.D. Tex.)
Filed 2013 - Case Ongoing
Billy R. Wilks
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-TX-0038
Coding Complete
10 Marimuthu v. Signal International, LLC
1:13-cv-00499 (E.D. Tex.)
Filed 2013 - Closed
Dewan Consultants
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-TX-0039
Substantial Business Contacts with New Orleans, LA
Coding Complete
11 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Signal International, LLC
2:12-cv-00557-SM-DEK (E.D. La.)
Filed 2011 - Closed 2015
Signal International, Inc.
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0011
Pascagoula
Coding Complete
12 David v. Signal International, LLC
2:08-cv-01220-SM-DEK (E.D. La.)
Filed 2008 - Case Ongoing
Signal International, Inc.
Immigration and/or the Border
Equal Employment
IM-LA-0010
Pascagoula
Coding Complete
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