Home » A Soldiers Story » Oregon National Guard soldiers vs. KBR – Trial Wrap-up

Oregon National Guard soldiers vs. KBR – Trial Wrap-up

From left are Charles Seamon, Aaron St. Clair, Jason Arnold, attorney David Sugerman, and Rocky Bixby in front of the federal court, shortly after the KBR verdict was announced Friday afternoon. (Photo Motoya Nakamura / The Oregonian)

Some reflections on the KBR trial by a juror
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – November 4 , 2012 – I reached out to most of the jurors who awarded damages Friday to the Oregon National Guard soldiers and, so far, one has agreed to discuss the jury’s deliberations, on the condition that he/she not be identified. Here are a few bullet points from our conversation.

1. A consensus emerged fairly quickly that KBR was negligent in the way it operated at Qarmat Aliin 2003. KBR “displayed a level of incompetence you wouldn’t expect from a professional organization being paid well” to do its job, the juror said.

The jury was influenced by the fact that KBR eventually did shut down operations at the water treatment plant out of concerns over contamination by sodium dichromate, which contains the carcinogen hexavalent chromium. Yet KBR was present at the site beginning in March and operated there daily through the spring and summer. To think something changed that much at the site between March and August “defies logic,” the juror said. “There should have been enough red flags. They screwed up in not identifying it early.”  (Click HERE for article)

KBR trial: Some morning-after observations
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – November 3, 2012 – While the trial felt like a marathon that ended in a Friday-afternoon frenzy, the KBR case is far from over. Or, as one of the soldiers’ lawyers told his clients in the moments after the verdict was read, “Don’t start writing checks yet.”KBR’s lawyers will ask Judge Papak to throw out the verdict for multiple technical reasons, including what’s known as “the political question.” Failing that, they will appeal.

The judge and the lawyers for both sides will confer by phone in the coming week about the next steps in the proceedings. One option may be that a second case involving other Oregon soldier-plaintiffs will be scheduled. (Click HERE for article)

KBR verdict: $85 million awarded to 12 Oregon soldiers for toxic exposure in Iraq; defense contractor guilty of negligence
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – November 2, 2012 – In a potentially precedent-setting verdict, a Portland jury found defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent, but did not commit fraud against a dozen Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who sued the company for its conduct in Iraq nine years ago.
Magistrate Judge Paul Papak announced the decision about 3:35 p.m. the U.S. Courthouse in Portland. Each soldier was awarded $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages.

“It’s a little bit of justice,” said Guard veteran Jason Arnold, moments after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon. Arnold was one of four of the soldier-plaintiffs in the courtroom was the verdict was read.

The verdict should send an important message to those who rely on military troops, he said. (Click HERE for article)

While waiting for KBR verdict, judge ponders continuing ban on certain publicity
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – November 2, 2012 – Since shortly before the beginning of the trial in Bixby, et al. vs. KBR Inc., Magistrate Judge Paul Papak has kept the lawyers and their clients on a short leash. They were ordered not to communicate with the press, except to answer routine scheduling questions, and lawyers for the soldiers were ordered to take down websites related to the KBR litigation.

Before the court this morning came the question: What about after the verdict is delivered, whenever that is?

And the preliminary answer: The prohibition continues, at least until the lawyers can have a follow-up telephone conference, with one exception: Parties will be permitted to comment directly on the verdict.

This is an unusual situation, in that the 12 Oregon National Guard soldier-plaintiffs represent only about a third of the pool of plaintiffs who are suing KBR in Oregon. To make the trial more manageable, the judge and attorneys cleaved off the first 12 for the first trial. The rest still await their day in court. (Click HERE for article)

While we wait for a KBR verdict….
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – November 1, 2012 – One of the key reference works for chemical industrial compounds is a Material Safety Data Sheet, which are published widely. The MSDS for sodium dichromate came up frequently at trial. Here’s a version published by Science Stuff Inc.
It includes this passage, labeled “effects of overexposure:”

Acute and chronic: Material is extremely  destructive to tissue of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory  tract, eyes and skin. Inhalation may result in spasm, inflammation and  edema of the larynx and bronchi, chemical pneumonitis and pulmonary  edema. Symptoms of exposure may include burning sensation, coughing,  wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and  vomiting. Carcinogen, May alter genetic material. Damage to liver and  kidneys. Target organs: Liver and kidneys. Persons with pre-existing  disorders may be more susceptible. (Click HERE for article)

Jury gets the KBR case after lawyers make their final arguments
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – October 31, 2012 – Now, the case against KBR Inc. is up to the 12 Oregonians who’ve been sitting silently through all the testimony and arguments for the last 17 working days. Finally, the jurors may begin talking to one another about which side made a more persuasive case.

More precisely, they will discuss whether the lawyers for the dozen Oregon National Guard soldiers and veterans have proven that KBR was negligent or committed fraud in its conduct at Iraq’s Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in 2003.

In his closing argument Wednesday, the soldiers’ lawyer, Mike Doyle, told the jury that the defense contractor had carried out “the big lie” in the way it handled the presence of sodium dichromate, which contains a known carcinogen, at the water treatment plant where the Oregon soldiers provided security. (Click HERE for article)

KBR case Wednesday: Closing arguments are under way
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – October 31, 2012 – The soldiers’ lawyer, Mike Doyle, spent 90 minutes Wednesday morning describing what he called KBR’s “big lie” to conceal and misrepresent what it knew about sodium dichromate contamination at Qarmat Ali.

He told jurors that the company made a conscious decision at the outset not to clean up the contamination it knew was present, and then carried out multiple deceptions afterward in an effort to keep its work going.

He closed with a plea for the jury to make an example of KBR by awarding punitive damages on top of other damages.

He gave away to KBR’s lawyer, Geoffrey Harrison, who told jurors that Doyle and his team ignored substantial contemporaneous evidence showing clear communication in order to tell a story that painted the company in a false light. And he criticized Doyle’s efforts to stoke sympathy for the soldier-plaintiffs. (Click HERE for article)

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  1. Comment by leo:

    Does any one think there had a msds sheet in Iraq in 2003 there was no msds sheets on most of the paints used in Iraq and safety new it i left in 2010. As safety told me all the bases do it. So much doing the job by the book

    • Comment by KBR OBAMA & HOLDER WATCH:

      KBR had 64 SOP Standards of Procedures and they had inept contracting officers overseeing the contract in the form of DCMA who were not qualified to be dealing with those chemicals. Chemicals – Chemical Warfare. Do those words ring any bells in the Army or DCMA brains ? KBR must have withheld this important information because had they given it, a competent contracting officer would have given directions to back away until a professional company ( Not KBR ) could come in and anyalyze the chemicals and that company would suggest the correct PPE Protective Equipment. But NO, KBR felt those soldiers were expendable just like their own personnel. KBR KILLEM’ BAGEM’ REPLACEM’ THAT IS KBR’s motto and mantra.

      • Comment by Optimus Prime:

        Your comment is just wrong. Kill Em Bag Em Replacem…that is just wrong. Not even KBR has that type of attitude towards peoples safety.You must have a huge axe to grind or you are just an idiot. The part I agree with you is that the govt should have had someone step in, (NOT KBR), KBR is not a remediation company, in a timely fashion and say stop and order a formal clean up of the area. No amount of PPE would have been appropriate leaving the dichromate as it was, even a army chemical suit.

        You compare Sodium Dichromate to a rattle snake. If you have a rattlesnake, the best way to eliminate the hazard is to kill it IE: do a formal remediation of the Sodium Dichromate and get it off site. Leave the rattlesnake in place, even if you wear PPE, the snake will bite you.

  2. Comment by KBR OBAMA & HOLDER WATCH:

    Finally, isn’t it refreshing to hear an opinion of an American citizen when they can speak with the voice of a juror. It just goes to show that the citizens ( who do make our jury system KBR and ITT ) will see right through the smoke and mirrors. Maybe they don’t read Ms Sparky daily as many of us do, but when the information is given to them, any reasonable person will just shake their heads at how these soldiers and DoD contractors were exposed and lied to. The judges who sided with KBR originally and blocked this path to justice should be investigated about their possible conflicts of interest. It is no different than Eric Holder’s boys and girls not investigating the Qui Tam of ITT overcharging the USG by $ 200 Million.

  3. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    A big thank you to the jurors for standing up to KBR, a corporation that, as we keep saying in America, is an idividual, a person. Well that ” person ” had the contractual obligation to perform. What did some idiot named Taryk Ferris tell me who was the Green Zone’s KBR USMI Operations Manager. Quote Those 64 SOP – Statement of Procedures MSgt were never agreed to by KBR – they were sort of just advisory documents. Unquote With an attitude like that, that is why 40,000 people in the Green Zone took showers in sewage water and diesel contaminated water. THOSE are KBRs managers. People just like Taryk Ferris. Unfortuantely, that is how American higher paid and in a position like that behave. THIS should be a lesson to the Army about OURSOURCING and Subcontracting. But with the Army and Dick Cheney, it was more about the kickbacks than holding their contractor to performance standards.

  4. Comment by KBR WATCH:


    Contractors ‘Not Appreciated’

    After 15 months driving a truck for KBR, Jim Bob Murray returned from Iraq. He says too many of his friends were getting killed, and he didn’t like the way the company treated the drivers.

    “The nickname we had for KBR was Kill ‘em, Bag ‘em and Replace ‘em.

    KBR said in its statement that “all personnel are treated with dignity and respect, and they may return home if they become uncomfortable with the work they’re performing.”

    The company has erected a memorial wall to fallen truckers inside the KBR facility at Camp Anaconda. One of the names inscribed on that wall is Sasha Grenner-Case, 32, a Florida-based trucker who was killed by insurgents in the Sept. 20 ambush. His widow, Karen, lives in a mobile home park in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

    She says when tells people her husband was killed in Iraq, they assume he was a soldier. Contractors are “not appreciated because nobody knows about ‘em. And it’s sad that the United States doesn’t even realize all these guys are in such terrible danger.”

    The second part of this report will air on Friday’s Morning Edition. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

  5. Comment by KBR WATCH:


    KBR Salaries, Bonuses and Benefits. – KBR Jobs – Page 349 – Indeedwww.indeed.com › Forums › Company › KBR – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    50 ????????? – 9 ?????????
    KBR = Kill em Bag em Replace em. – Was this comment helpful? … I was just wondering if anyone else got the word on KBR contract? My husband is in South

  6. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Future Corporate Merc Unit Slogansdefiancegames.com/…/6273-future-corporate-… – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    11 ????????? – 6 ????????? – 26 5 ???
    KBR – Kill em, bag em, retrieve em. They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1.

  7. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    63 KBR Truck drivers have died so far in Iraq. Kill’em, Bag’em …www.democraticunderground.com/…/duboard… – ???????????? ????????????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    22 ????????? – 17 ????????? – 26 5 ??? 2006
    …is what the truckers call KBR. This is according to the first of a 2 part report on NPR’s “All Things Considered” today. I have mixed feelings …
    Get more discussion results

  8. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Future Corporate Merc Unit Slogansdefiancegames.com/…/6273-future-corporate-… – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    11 ????????? – 6 ????????? – 26 5 ???
    KBR – Kill em, bag em, retrieve em. They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1.

  9. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Anyone ever contract to Afghanistan or Iraq? – Kingwood …kingwoodunderground.com/topic.jsp?topicId… – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    KBR – Kill-em, Bag-em, and Replace-em. Still not as dangerous as Alaskan crab fisherman. I LOVE that they went down the wrong road.. I watched that first

  10. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    September 11, 2011 Seven-Minute War in Afghanistan – ?????? 73 – Google Books Resultbooks.google.mn/books?isbn=1449755267
    Bill Davis – 2012 – History
    getting killed, and he didn’t like the way the company treated the drivers, “the nickname we had for KBR was Kill ‘em, Bag ‘em and Replace ‘em. KBR said in its

  11. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Far East Cynic » Now its time to say goodbye to Nevada.fareastcynic.com/…/now-its-time-to-say-goodb… – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    26 May 2006 – So if you are afraid then go home……..”. The guys had a new meaning for the intials KBR. Kill em, bag em , replace em. The use of corporations …

  12. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Use of war for profitwww.sheldensays.com/warforprofit.htm – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    The employees of KBR gave it a nickname of “Kill’em, Bag ‘em, and Replace ‘em” because of the lack of sympathy or concern for their employees. There is

  13. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Haliburton and its subsidiary KBR caring for troops in Iraqwww.connectingsingles.com/…/haliburton_and… – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    15 Jun 2009 – Re: Haliburton and its subsidiary KBR caring for the troops in Iraq. Oh yea. You mean Kill’em Bag’em Replace’em, that KBR? They send drivers …

  14. Comment by KBR WATCH:

    Iraq convoy was sent out despite threat | A Soldier’s Perspectivemilitarygear.com/asp/2007/09/05/2204/ – ???????????? ??????
    You +1’d this publicly. Undo
    5 Sep 2007 – I remember we had a saying for KBR and that instead of it standing for Kellogg, Brown, & Root it should stand for “Kill ‘em, Bag ‘em, & Replace …

  15. Comment by Optimus Prime:

    KBR WATCH – You are an idiot. Layoff the crack pipe or the meth and get a life.

    • Comment by KBR WATCH:

      I helped put some boots on KBR manager’s throats to perfom and it didn’t take crack to do that – it took something they didn’t have for the customers they were being well paid for to take care of. Integrity and knowing the Scope they were to perform to.

      I can still remember that idiot who was concerned that the random inspection of quarters asked if DCMA could actually do that to them ? Who was DMCA and who was that MSgt giving them a hard time.

      My pleasure to hold them to the scope.

      Unbelieveable – who is DCMA. KBR was unnaccountable – until them have a few guys like me write them up. No crack head here buddy.

  16. Comment by Steve Lofquist:

    I wish more people had the intelligence, fortitude and integratey of KBR watch. He is truly a stand up guy

    • Comment by KBR WATCH:

      All those tortouos quotes were to show that I am not the person that coined that acronym.

      NO, that is not the worst of it. I had a friend in INTEL and he said early on, when a number of KBR personnel were kidnapped, and later turned up killed. During the hunt for them, they of course continue’d to be paid. My friend was one of those who found them and he was there when USMI management was informed early on. He said after they left, and through the doors, they could hear the KBR managers complaining that they should have stopped their pay earlier as they figured they were dead.

      Only one word for those manager. Heartless bastarts.

      I make no apologies or defenses for KBR managers who have crossed the line of inappropriate behavior.

      I suppose you would think I am an idiot if I said we should find the managers who locked the KBR woman who was raped and locked her in a trailer and destroyed the evidence that I think they are snakes and should be locked up for 20 years and the woman who was raped. Those managers should simply be tied to a post and let that woman whip them with the whips the Romans’ used that take down flesh down to the backbones.

      Cheney – has anyone ever heard him quoted about his old companies managers who behave like this.

      He probably got them some more contracts.

    • Comment by KBR WATCH:

      Thanks Steve. Would Optimus Prime rescue the locked up KBR employee from the trailer or would he be too frightend to do the right thing.

      It is your parents that told you what that was and it is your core character. There were many KBR managers who just didn’t have nono-gram of integrity and it goes back to their parents and upbringing.

  17. Comment by Punk Buster:

    I agree with Prime on some things here. I also agree with KBR watch. If a manager has the gall to say that they should have stopped thier pay then that was just wrong. Now on the other hand, it was in the contract, if I am not mistaken that pay would be recieved until a determination was determined for death….so paying those who were captured was per the contract.

    Now as far as trapped in a trailer…….destroying evidence….I do not believe that happened.

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