A federal appeals court ruled by a French restaurant owner who forced an intellectually disabled Black man into slave labour owes more than $500,000 in restitution, double the amount originally levied by a decrease district court.
That sum represented unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation made to 43-year-old John Christopher Smith (known in the ruling as”Jack”), that Edwards”effectively enslaved” by forcing him to operate at J&J Cafeteria in South Carolina”over 100 hours each week without cover” for more than five decades.
But a three-judge panel about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit late last month unanimously ruled that the district court erred in only ordering the repayment of wages without adding”an additional equal amount” in the kind of liquidated damages. The Circuit Court vacated the ruling and remanded the case back down into the lower court for recalculation of double the initial restitution arranged, roughly $546,000.
As mentioned by Law&Crime, Edwards made Smith’s own life a living hell later taking over the restaurant in 2009. After Edwards came, he stopped paying Smith, who starting working in J&J part-time in 1990 at age 12 and has an intellectual impairment as well as an IQ of about 70. Edwards bullied Smith using”abusive language, racial epithets, threats, and acts of violence,” according to then-Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. He struck him. He struck him pots and pans. He burned his throat with hot tongs which had been dipped in dirt.
This real abuse was supposed to punish Smith for mistakes and to make him work quicker, prosecutors said, and it continued until authorities obtained a complaint from Geneane Caines, whose daughter-in-law worked at J&J. Adult Protective Services stepped up to help in October 2014.
“I felt as though I was in prison. The majority of the time that I felt unsafe, like Bobby would kill me when he wanted,” Smith said of the dwelling conditions under Edwards. “I wanted to escape that area so bad but couldn’t think about how I could without being hurt”
The court concluded that, under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the failure to pay an employee minimum wage and overtime in real-time means that worker does not just miss out on the owed wages, but also suffers”the reduction of using the cash throughout the length of delay”
“So fully compensating the worker requires accounting for reductions from the delay. These extra losses may, in part, be paid by curiosity,” Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer wrote for the courtroom. “Indeedit will be inconsistent with the TVPA’s necessity of providing restitution in’the full quantity of the victim’s losses’ to not compensate a victim for losses incurred as a result of the delay in paying necessary wages and overtime payment. And failing to compensate for delay could be especially egregious in this scenario, where Jack was not paid for many decades.”
Read the full ruling below.
4th Circuit Bobby Paul Edward Ruling by Law&Crime on Scribd
[image via J. Reuben Long Detention Center]The article Federal Appeals Court Says White Restaurant Owner Who’s’Enslaved’ Intellectually Disabled Black Man Owes Dual the Damages Initially Imposed first appeared Law & Crime.