By Amy Burroughs
JONESBORO, Ark. _ An Arkansas jury has awarded $1.2 million in damages to a group of Nucor workers who had sued the Charlotte-based company for creating an atmosphere of racial hostility at its Blytheville, Ark., plant. The jury’s decision was partially based on the actions of Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco, who at one time was the plant’s general manager.
The jury, comprised of 11 whites and one African-American, granted each of six plaintiffs $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages on Oct. 29.
The case was heard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
As of press time, DiMicco was not available for comment.
Spokesperson Greg Lucas in Charlotte referred questions to the Nucor-Yamato Steel Company in Armorel, Ark., which oversees the plant.
The company will appeal the verdict, said Doug Jellison, vice president and general manager of Nucor-Yamato.
Robert Wiggins Jr. of Wiggins Childs Quinn & Pantazis in Birmingham, Ala., is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs: Cornelius Bennett, Clifton Lee Sr., Rodney Washington, Larry McBride, Ozzie Green and Sylvester Rogers.
Wiggins said DiMicco was aware of workers’ complaints, which included simulated lynchings of dummies and displays of nooses, Confederate flags and racially offensive graffiti.
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