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KBR withdraws appeal in Jamie Jones rape case

Halliburton drops high court appeal in rape case

Associated Press – March 22, 2010 4:05 PM ET

HOUSTON (AP) – Halliburton Co. and KBR have withdrawn an appeal asking the Supreme Court to block the trial of a former military contractor from Texas who says she was raped by co-workers in Iraq.

Halliburton confirmed Monday that the appeal was withdrawn, but wouldn’t elaborate.

Jamie Leigh Jones says she was raped while working for KBR in Baghdad in 2005. She later sued KBR and Halliburton, which split in 2007.

Halliburton and KBR had argued that Jones’ case should be settled in arbitration as required by her contract. A lower court ruled it could go to trial, which is set for May 2011.

The Associated Press usually doesn’t name people alleging sexual assault, but Jones’ identity has been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site. (click HERE for original article)

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29 Comments

  1. Comment by Ugot2Bkidding:

    WOOHOO!!!! GOOD FOR HER!!!!!!!!! :) RUN KBR RUN!!! I smell fear.

  2. Comment by justice4all:

    Now Jamie Jones can have her case heard by a jury of her peers rather than judges or behind closed doors. KBR, Halliburton and the other contract companies that negligently care for their employees and allow the events that occurred like those that occurred against Ms. Jones deserve the humiliation and pain that she has endured. May Justice be served.

  3. Ping from Halliburton drops high court appeal in rape case « Overseas Civilian Contractors:

    […] broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site.  Original story at  bostonherald.com Also See Ms Sparky Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Appeals Court Sends Contractors Case to […]

  4. Ping from Halliburton drops high court appeal in rape case « Defense Base Act Compensation Blog:

    […] broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site.   Story here at BostonHerald.com Also see MsSparky Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Appeals Court Sends Contractors Case to […]

  5. Comment by world-upside-down-why?:

    They will settle on the court-house steps – if not before? Especially since KBR received all that money recently – wish someone could track KBRs bank account just to see if they are paying from their profits,or AIG is paying from the money they were paid initially when KBR won logcap III, or with the new fresh money they received recently?
    Hang in there Ms. Jones

    • Comment by sail:

      Actually, this would not be a DBA claim. So there is no way that AIG would be involved at all. Additionally, AIG was not KBR’s DBA insurer during the first 2 years of LCIII.

      And yes it would probably be better for her to financially settle rather than wait another year for the trial to begin and rack up even more legal fees that are going to come out of her settlement and then wait however many more months for a decission.

      Is what happened to Ms. Jones anywhere near right – absolutely not – should those who perpetrated this CRIME be prosecuted – absolutely. If there are people who covered up this crime should they also be prosecuted – absolutely.

      But I think her point has been made. I would hope that she gets the highest settlement that she possible can. I just hate that she has to continue to wait and continue to increase the costs that are going to be taken from her settlement – although I bet her lawyer is seeing $$$$ all over the place.

      Also just so everyone knows and there is no doubt – legal settlements are UNALLOWABLE costs under FAR Part 31 which means they are paid out of profits and not in anyway billed bact to any government contract.

      • Comment by Ms Sparky:

        You are correct. It is my understanding that if KBR wins the case, it is an allowable cost. If they lose the case or settle out of court it is not.

        And as far as Jamie’s case is concerned, I believe she is looking at the big picture. She could have quit or gone to arbitration and settled a long time ago but she is more concerned about what is being done to change the laws and protect others.

      • Comment by 2 Cents:

        I have to disagree with AIG not being the DBA Insurer the first 2 years of logcap III. AIG was the Insurer at least starting Sept 2002. LOGCAP III Was signed DEC 14, 2001.

        If your refering to AON, they are just the Insurance Broker.

        Just my

        2 cents

      • Comment by 2 Cents:

        “Also just so everyone knows and there is no doubt – legal settlements are UNALLOWABLE costs under FAR Part 31 which means they are paid out of profits and not in anyway billed back to any government contract.”

        Actually not all legal settlements are unallowable. This one would be because it is a Title VII case.

        KBR has had many legal settlements with employees or subcontractors that are allowable.

        Again, Just my

        2 cents

        • Comment by Ms Sparky:

          So just so we are clear. Title VII Cases (Discrimination, Harassment, etc) are not allowable expenses if the contractor settles out of court or loses the case. What kinds of settlements or cases that they lose would be allowable? For example.

          • Comment by 2 Cents:

            Cases with Subcontractors or employees over disputed work that was done. Look at ASCO/AGT vs KBR in their Annual Report. They disputed over the amount owed and KBR lost. KBR Charged that amount back to the government and was paid for it.

            • Comment by Ms Sparky:

              From what I understand and I am in no way an attorney, the US Government doesn’t want to pay their contractor for any criminal activity or breaking of US law and that is why they will not pay for out of court settlements or plaintiff awards for Title VII cases. But such as the civil case in the death of SSG Ryan Maseth. If KBR loses that case, will the DoD reimburse them? Or does KBR have to win the case to get reimbursed. It’s a civil case not a criminal case.

              • Comment by sail:

                As for the ASCO suit – that was related to a writen contract dispute – not a civil wrong. As I was not privy to the contract terms, the direction that led to issuing the contract in the first place, etc, etc. I can’t speak to why the company was able to bill these costs.

                As far as non contractual civil suits – it all goes back to FAR Part 31 and in a large part if the Contractor was found to have of wrongdoing.

                It is not cut and dry. A recent DCAA decission regarding such legal fees as posted in thir site is as follows:

                The Question—
                Are the legal fees and settlement costs paid to the employee and her attorney allowable costs?

                The following is DCAA’s general answer to the question:

                Costs incurred in connection with third-party legal and other proceedings resulting from established contractor wrongdoing are unreasonable per FAR 31.201-3.

                Since the allowability of these costs varies based on the specifics of each case there is no one correct answer.

                However, in Ms. Jones case – I for one as a reasonable person would determine that if a settlement were paid – the company was admitting to wrongdoing. If the court awards a settlement then the court had definately determined that the company was wrong.

  6. Comment by Todd Kelly:

    Thanks for all the support, Ms. Sparky. We appreciate your readers and your continued blogging about the “goings-on” at this company. On behalf of Jamie’s team, we thank you all.
    Todd

    • Comment by Ms Sparky:

      You and Jamie have made tremendous progress in tearing down that secret arbitration clause that most of us didn’t even know we signed. You’ve also been crucial in changing the laws and setting precedent that will benefit other victims of corporate corruption for years to come.

      Thank you for sticking with it.

      • Comment by tmarielbs:

        Can anyone answer the question as to whether or not the cost of this suit will be passed on to the government as part of doing business? If so, perhaps Bush & Cheney can be passed the bill since they have tried to do so much to protect Halliburton & KBR. I believe that Ms. Jones is a remarkable woman and am so happy she did not simply settle. Amazing isn’t it that KBR has actually continued to “arbitrate” a decision finding for one sexual assault victim in another case. So, apparently it doesn’t really matter whether these corporations are sued in court or arbirtation is held. They aren’t going to pay no matter what. I believe they should be held accountable as should EVERYONE involved in the attempted coverup. Not just one person, but all of them.

        • Comment by Ms Sparky:

          It is my understanding if KBR loses this case the cost and award are NOT recoverable under the Franken Amendment. If they win the case I believe they can submit invoices to the USG as a billable expense. I do not know if this holds true for all suits against KBR. I know there was an indemnity clause in their RIO contract and if they lose the cases filed against them by the National Guard Troops the US Taxpayer will be picking up that bill.

  7. Comment by justice4all:

    Of course KBR will attempt to settle on the courtroom steps but at least Jamie has the ball in her court (no pun intended). It is her option to go forward with a jury trial or settle. She obviously had no choice when she was raped while working for KBR. She has suffered enough and a jury trial would be reliving it all but that will be her decision.

    Justice4all

  8. Comment by world-upside-down-why?:

    Often times, the purpose of settling before trial means that the defendant doesn’t want their dirty-laundry to be made known to the whole world, and thereby revealing their evil side. Wish in these type cases – a stipulation be made legally that jurors sit on the side-lines and render a decision based on what they’ve heard from a “bench-trial”, give their opinion and also find KBR Guilty or not-guilty based on the facts of the case in as much as they are allowed. Have these jurors polled just like they would be if legally granted to sit on a true trial. Of course, there final verdict would carry no weight, although it would gain an insight as to the feelings of the people. In high profile cases, both sides have pretend trials, simply to brush-up on their up-coming performances. So why not have a pretend trial based on the allowable facts?

  9. Comment by Ms Sparky:

    KBR’s Heather Browne makes a statement as to why KBR withdrew their appeal.

    The company’s lawyer before the high court, Stephen Kinnaird of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in D.C., referred inquiries to KBR. Company spokeswoman Heather Browne issued a statement confirming the link between the company’s action and the Franken Amendment. The text of the statement: “KBR’s decision to withdraw its petition from the Supreme Court was related to the Franken amendment. It is our belief that the language of the amendment is very broad and vague. As a result, KBR did not want to risk being in violation of the amendment, so the company withdrew its petition.”

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/03/kbr-withdraws-supreme-court-appeal-on-rape-case.html

    • Comment by FYI:

      Apparently Heather Browne has an evil twin and her name is Marlys Knutson:

      Other defense contractors, including Minnesota’s Polaris Industries Inc., which builds all-terrain vehicles for the military, have raised objections about the rule, saying arbitration is an increasingly common alternative to litigation.

      “Especially in today’s day and age … using arbitration to settle disputes is kind of the common way of doing it,” said Polaris’ Marlys Knutson. “It just seems very strange that this would be in there.”

  10. Comment by sail:

    Ok let me start off by saying that I am not defending Alternate Dispute Resolution. But it seems to me that the Franken Amendment is another case of the Government’s Do as we say – not as we do.

    The Government passed the following Act in regards to Government Contracts way back in 1990.

    “Administrative Dispute Resolution Act 1990

    Authorizes and encourages the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Including:

    Mediation: Mediation helps preserve relationships. The parties in dispute maintain high level of control. A neutral third party listens to the issues, helps develop options, and works with both parties to obtain a negotiated settlement.

    Fact-Finding: A process of investigating facts that are collected and organized, and may be used as evidence. A neutral technical expert independently examines the facts and renders an advisory decision.

    Mini-Trial: Disputing parties present their cases to senior management who serve as the decision-makers. A third party assists in clarifying and identifying issues. Senior management negotiates a settlement.

    Non-binding Arbitration: Closest to litigation. Evidence and arguments are presented to a neutral third party who renders a non-binding decision.”

    Gee sounds a lot like the ADR packages I have seen from the various contractors.

    It is hard to find a government contract today that does not include this requirement.

    • Comment by Todd Kelly:

      Franken’s Amendment addresses pre-dispute, binding, mandatory arbitration.

      That means, that before you even know what the fight is about, you have to agree to arbitrate.

      The arbitration is conducted by lawyers, most of whom have only one repeat customer in the dispute – and it ain’t the injured party. These people are not stupid – they know where their bread is buttered.

      The result is binding. What that means is that it is not appealable. Here’s the kicker – that applies even when the arbitrator ignores the law.

      They don’t give the injured party a choice. Ever notice that it is only the injured party who tries to opt out of these provisions? Ever ask yourself why they would do so if the provisions were so “fair?” You should.

      Finally, in the arbitration agreement at issue in Jamie’s case, the company has been enforcing “confidentiality.” Most of these cases can never see the light of day.

      Now, google “Star Chamber.” Not the movie – the old English system of justice for the nobitlity that our settlers worked so hard to escape. Then you will realize why we have fought so hard to keep Jamie out of our modern day version of the same.

      • Comment by sail:

        Todd:

        I understand all except pre-dispute arbitration. What whould you be arbitrating if you did not have a something in contention.

        Can you elaborate?

        Thanks

        SC

        • Comment by Todd Kelly:

          Sure. It is the agreement that is made pre-dispute. You see, the corporate entities are aware that certain wrongs occur over and over. Take, for instance, the multitude of women raped by contractors in Iraq. They know it, but the unsuspecting 20-year old girl they are hiring does not. At the point in time when they have this bright-eyed young girl sign the arbitration agreement, there is no dispute. She trusts them – they have a dirty little secret.

          Some may call that fraud. However, in order for an arbitrator to call it fraud, they have to say that the arbitration is invalid and that they, therefore, should not be working. Conflict of interest? You decide. The courts have said “no.”

          • Comment by sail:

            Thanks!

          • Comment by tmarielbs:

            Todd, so if the arbirtation is binding, how can KBR still continue to arbitrate the other rape victim’s award? I mean, if it is binding as you say. Go get ‘em guys! I hope you make a difference in this whole mess. I personally don’t understand why either KBR or Halliburton has not been refused govt contracts given the long history of fraudulent billing and violation of civil rights and equal protection under the law. They seem to protect rapists and lock victims up. Why weren’t the rapists put in storage rooms and refused water and food?

            • Comment by Ms Sparky:

              Valid point. Other than David Breda I don’t know of any other rapist who has been charged. Maybe the difference was that NCIS investigated the Breda case and Army CID has investigated the others.

  11. Comment by world-upside-down-WHY?:

    After reading about the “Star Chamber”, it made me think about how “Hugo Chavez” is controlling his country-with complete control of all aspects of his citizens rights. Would it be safe to say that the company referenced in the arbitration of Ms. Jones’ case might be referred to as a sort of “Employer Dictatorship” which held their control of employee’s complaints (no matter how serious)in their own “Star Chamber” in Baghdad(steel-container) or Houston?

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