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Nine new lawsuits filed against KBR

Burn Pit Abu Ghraib

Burn Pit Abu Ghraib

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ — Nine new lawsuits allege that KBR, Inc. jeopardized the health and safety of American soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan by burning vast quantities of unsorted waste in enormous open-air burn pits with no safety controls.

The lawsuits are being filed today and Wednesday in state courts in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, and Wyoming by the Burke O’Neil LLC law firm and co-counsel on behalf of 21 named current and former military personnel, private contractors, and the families of men who allegedly died as a result of exposure to toxic emissions from KBR burn pits.

KBR is accused of allowing thick, noxious smoke – coming off of flames sometimes colored blue or green by burning chemicals – to hang over U.S. bases and camps across Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004. Round-the-clock hazardous emissions from the burn pits allegedly caused serious respiratory illnesses, tumors and cancers in the plaintiffs.

According to the complaints, “U.S. soldiers and other residents of the military bases and camps have become seriously ill, been diagnosed with serious and potentially fatal diseases and in some cases have died from the physical injuries and diseases caused by the exposure to hazardous smoke and fumes.”

The burn pits are so large that tractors are used to push waste onto them and the flames shoot hundreds of feet into the sky, according to the lawsuits. KBR allegedly burned waste such as biohazard materials including human corpses, medical supplies, paints, solvents, asbestos, items containing pesticides, animal carcasses, tires, lithium batteries, styrofoam, wood, rubber, medical waste, large amounts of plastics, and even entire trucks.

Attorney Elizabeth Burke, of Burke O’Neil LLC, stated, “KBR knew or should have known that operating vast open-air burn pits jeopardized the health and safety of thousands of Americans. The hazards of operating large open air burn pits were well known. KBR showed an utter disregard for the safety of the troops when they chose to use open air burn pits and failed to use incinerators and other safer methods of waste disposal.”

The collective claims against the defendants include wrongful death, negligence, battery, breach of duty to warn, medical monitoring, future medical expenses, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.

The legal team for the plaintiffs intends to seek class certification of the lawsuits to cover costs of medical monitoring, future medical expenses, and other damages for other individuals exposed to KBR burn pit emissions.

Ms. Burke stated, “KBR promised to minimize the environmental effects of the burn sites they operated in Iraq and Afghanistan and to minimize smoke exposure to people in and near the bases and camps. Instead, by forsaking safety for money, KBR willfully endangered these men and women who honorably served their country in military service or in support of the military.” (Click HERE to read the entire article and see a partial list of plaintiffs.)

I have to say that last statement by Ms. Burke is powerful and hits the nail on the head.  That’s why I bolded it!! The “dump” in the Green Zone burned 24/7 covering KBR’s Camp Hope in smoke and ash. Our complaints were ignored. It wasn’t until a Marine check point was set up near “the dump” and the Marines had it shut down and moved for the safety of their troops. Thank God we no longer had to breathe the fumes of thousands of burning plastic water bottles and who know what else.  Hoo Ra!

I have nearly 60 Burn Pit photos on Flickr. Click HERE to see those and my other stuff if you want.

Ms Sparky

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21 Comments

  1. Comment by ms sparky:

    This article came out this morning on CNN.com

    http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/28/contractor-sued-for-burn-pits-in-iraq-and-afghanistan/

    I love this quote from the article.

    The lawsuits seek damages “in an amount sufficient to strip defendants of all of the revenue and profits” earned.

  2. Comment by ms sparky:

    2 Wyoming airmen sue over trash burning in Iraq

    http://www.localnews8.com/Global/story.asp?S=10286616&nav=menu554_2_2

  3. Comment by JimF:

    I worked for KBR in Iraq for 3 years and developed some skin problems while over there Iam so glad to see someone getting some support for the HSE violations committed there.
    Jim

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Jim-“Krash” is offering to assist you with your DBA claim. Shoot me an email and I can get you two in touch.

  4. Comment by Krash:

    JimF: Did you receive medical care for the skin problems while in theater or since returning home? I would really like to get more information from you about this if you are willing to talk. Please contact me directly through MsSparky.
    Thanks

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Thanks Krash. I will shoot him an email.

  5. Comment by RICHARD8X5:

    I WAS IN IRAQ FOR 6 MNTHS.I WAS INJURED DUE TO NEGLECT BY MILITARY.IVE BEEN HOME FOR 6MTHS AND IM JUST HAVING MY FIRST SURGERY NEXT WEEK.MY LAWYER DOESNT RETURN EMAILS PROMPTLY.HE IS HAVING A MEETING NEXT WEEK SUPOSEDLY TO GET ME MORE MONEY,BUT IM NOT HOLDING MY BREATH

  6. Comment by abe:

    i went into iraq in the best shape of my life. after living 16 months approx. 400 yards from the balad burn pit, im now on 9 asthma medications daily and cant enjoy life as i use to. my military 2 mile run time went from 11:08 to me passing out after attempting a 1/4 mile. im constantly sick and my doctors still believe there is more wrong with me than just the new asthma. i just pray that justice will be served

  7. Comment by Krash:

    JimF, Richard8x5 and abe: Please contact me directly, through MsSparky, about your injuries/illness so I can add your information to a database that I am compiling.

    Thanks

  8. Comment by ms sparky:

    Here’s more info on burn pit victims.

    http://www.sanmarcosmercury.com/archives/8774

  9. Comment by David ex KBR:

    I’m not a big fan of KBR, not even close. But burn pits are military SOP and were sanctioned by the military. Every base I went to had at least one burn pit. I’m pretty sure the burn pit at FOB War Horse was/is run by the military. Like I said I’m not a big fan of KBR but this didn’t happen in a vacuum. In this case the military is as responsible as KBR is. And we all know what happens to lawsuits against the military/government.

    I’m also of the opinion that the military aka as ‘the client’ should have been much more aggressive in holding KBR and other contractors to compliance. But those Generals and CSMs sure do like those Chevy Tahoe LTZ’s and ‘consulting’ jobs after retirement, don’t they.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    Again…I couldn’t agree with you more. I am actually working on a KBR post called “The Generals Club”. There should a law that says you can’t work for a DoD contractor for 5 years once you leave the military. To me that is a conflict of interest. We just need to get that done!

    Here is an excerpt out of the Statement of Work. You tell me what you think this says.

    Surface Burning. In coordination with the LSO and ACO, the contractor shall provide new or operate uncontaminated existing burn site while minimizing the environmental effects on the base camp. The contractor shall ensure the products of combustion are reduced to ash and non-combustible components. The contractor shall minimize any type of smoke exposures to the camp population.

  10. Comment by David ex KBR:

    Does KBR run the burn pits? Like I said I’m almost 100% sure the pit at War Horse was 100% military. I never got close enough to the JBB pit to check it out, it was up by the north gate. Wasn’t much up there except for some TTM/MHE depots. Like I said Sparky, it’s going to come down to the Military oversight. It happened on a Military base, under 100% military oversight, the military is responsible and shielded from lawsuit. Military SOP is to get some JP8 or diesel and burn everything and anything.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    KBR ran many of the burn pits. I know they ran ours in the Green Zone. But I suspect they didn’t run them all. That would be too consistent for the DoD.

  11. Comment by MrJB:

    NOW AS FOR AS THE BURN PITS I WORKED FOR KBR FROM THE START 2003 JANUARY TILL MAY 2009 . I CAN SAY AT C-7 WARRIOR THE BURN PIT WAS RUN BUY ANOTHER CONTRACTOR.

    NOW I AM NOT A BIG FAN I GOT HURT IN 2003 AT CAMP ANACONDA I PULLED MY TRUCK UP DURING AND THE ATTACK TO BLOCK THE TENTS HOUSING SOLDERS FROM THE RPGS MY TRUCK RECEIVED A DIRECT HIT I SUFFERED SOME INJURIES .

    AND WHILE TAKING MY CONVOY THREW BAGDAD IN 2003 I GOT SHOT. AND IN DECEMBER 2003 MY TRUCK GOT EVERY PEASE OF GLASS BROKEN .

    HERE IS THE FUNNY PART I WAS TOLD ON THE SECOUND OF MAY THAT I WILL BE GETTING THE RECIPIENT OF THE 2009 DEFENSE FREEDOM AWARD
    THEN TERMINATED ME (FIRED) . THIS CASE IS BEING LOOKED AT BY DRP AND

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    It is different from site to site…but, was that a KBR sub-contractor? And congratulations on your award. You earned it! THANK YOU!!

  12. Comment by JS:

    I worked for KBR for 3 years. During that time I always heard stories about lawsuits against KBR involving KBR not paying the required 100% uplift instead of the 75% that they paid us. The rumors said that the plaintiffs (class action) won the suit and KBR was required to pay back pay for all current and former employees. Is there any truth to this and if so what is the status?

  13. Comment by ButterBean:

    Does anybody know who runs or ran the burn pit and Camp Speicher/Liberty/Trash Can. Iraq. I was with ITT putting on Frag5 Armor and a burn pit was right next to us im talking feet away from our shop. many times when the smoke was blowing our way we had people sick one time i know of they even sent eveyone home becasue it was so bad and so many people was throwing up.
    Today im in Kuwait and have breathing problems, i never put the two together until readin gthis blog.
    I was at liberty in 07 was KBR doin gthe pit then or who was?

    Good luck everyone
    Butterbean

  14. Comment by camphelj@telkom.co.za:

    My brother was killed in Iraq in 2004/10/12 he was in a normal pajero then he was killed I have a document that i have found on the 2007/06 that states that all contractors must be in armored vehicle that was from the 2004/01/14 that is what the document states.Is there somebody that can help me to find a good lawyer in the U.S.A.The case will be against KBR.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    I’m sorry for your loss. Of course I will help you. I have just sent you an email.

  15. Comment by Insurgents Target:

    I spent quite awhile at club speicher and I can tell you it was KBR that ran it when I was there.

  16. Comment by amanra:

    Dear All,
    I have`not been here for a two months and I have noticed that a lot of things is going on. At present, I am in Afghanistan, nearly 18 months. The last couple months here In Afghanistan the stench is so strong and breathing is very hard. Sometimes in the afternoon and most of the time in the early morning. The stench is really strong and pungent and remind me of medicine smell, burning drugs smell. Friend of mine has got asthma and she has very serious condition. She has been here at the same place for three years. She has never smoked and no one in her family. The other one almost broke her foot, also here in Afghanistan and she had never received a proper medical treatment. When she asked for documentation to bring her doctor they did not give her. She keeps on her feet and work. Afraid to get fired!!!
    My question is,
    Does anybody know how they can ask for help or legal advice. Both of them work for KBR a long time 14 years and 7 years. They are TCN and they were always afraid even to ask for advice. The main rule is “Do not ask, do not complain, just work…”
    Mow, I am afraid for my self. Actually, I work here, I live here and I breathe this poisoned air. I think it can damage my lungs and even more, headaches every day.
    So, my blogger s, let us share information an experience we already have. Maybe we can help somebody….
    THX

  17. Comment by KBR Sucks:

    As I sit here reading these posts coughing up crap and being light headed from lack of air, I wonder why the military, VA, or anyone with official status has not contacted us to tell us there maybe a problem?

    I thought we were there to protect our country from the enemy and protect our families from terrorist attack. I did not realize that when our usefullness was over due to sickness and we started to cost money, the veterans became the enemy.

    I wonder if the Republicans who are against the public option health plan would be for assisted suicide for vets who came back hurt and broken. It would be an economic boom for the tax payer and they could put this Iraq/Afganistan thing behind them until the next investment opportunity arose.

    Ms Sparky’s Response:
    First…thank you for serving. I think what KBR and the Army has done and is doing to our troops is reprehensible. I feel that every soldier should get the best of the best from the time they enlist until the day they die. The best equipment and leaders while serving, the best educational opportunities, the best transitional services, the best benefits to them and their families, and the best medical care, psychological care and rehabilitation services.

    I hope you have contacted the Law Firm of Burke O’Neil. http://www.burkeoneil.com/

  18. Comment by Tim Odom:

    I was stationed at LSA Anaconda from Jan 2005 to Dec 2005. My first 6 weeks there i developed bronchitis which required me to have several breathing treatments and several different rounds of meds to clear it up. Unfortunately none of these records made it into my medical file. I have been fighting with the VA to get this condition service related due to the fact i never had this problem before. The Va keeps telling me it was my allergies but now i had a CT scan done on my lungs and they saw that i had fibrosis scarring tissue of the upper lungs, a problem i know i never had before. I didn’t know of this lawsuit until i stumbled across an old issue of Army Times and then i googled it. I keep bronchitis and chest cough all of the time. Is there any way I can get some help.

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