Precinct 333

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Slavery In California

"Slavery still exists, and I want to tell victims they should not tolerate it and should not be afraid to seek help."

A Filipino woman who won $825,000 in a lawsuit claiming a Hollywood executive and his wife enslaved her said the case should be a warning to others.

Nena Ruiz, 60, is a former schoolteacher from the Philippines who worked as a domestic servant for James Jackson and his wife, Elizabeth.

Jackson is vice president of legal affairs for Sony Pictures entertainment.

Of course the guy is in the entertainment industry. That segment of the Left Coast thinks itself superior to the rest of us. Why wouldn't this couple go abroad and pick up a slave for around the house?

A jury last week awarded [Ruiz] back wages and punitive damages, finding the Jacksons liable for involuntary servitude, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, negligence and fraud. Jurors also found Elizabeth Jackson liable for assault and battery.

The Jacksons threatened to call the police and immigration authorities if Ruiz left and told her that she would be locked up and would never see her family again, said Dan Stormer, one of Ruiz's attorneys.

The Jacksons, in an attempt to insulate themselves from any damage award, filed for bankruptcy protection before the trial began. Even if that transparent abuse of the statute works, here's hoping that state and federal authorities will take legal action to put these folks in jail.


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