It’s sooooooo unfair………….NOT!
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – December 29, 2012 – Following unproductive talks on the day after Christmas, lawyers for defense contractor KBR Inc. and for a set of Oregon National Guard veterans filed dueling motions Friday in federal court in Portland.
KBR has asked Magistrate Judge Paul Papak to grant a new trial, almost two months after a Portland jury awarded 12 Oregon National Guard veterans about $85 million in damages. The company’s lawyers say that lawyers for the veterans committed “numerous and repeated violations” of Papak’s rulings, tainting the verdict and misleading the jury.
They also say that the jury’s award of $75 million in punitive damages for negligence was “excessive” and that Papak himself failed to properly instruct the jury in several respects. The motion also argued that several of the veteran-plaintiffs were at least partly responsible for their own health issues. (Click HERE for article)
Updated: Judge tells KBR’s lawyers they can’t interview jurors who awarded $85 million
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – December 19, 2012 – Lawyers for defense contractor KBR Inc. may not question jurors who last month awarded 12 Oregon Guard soldiers and veterans a combined $85 million because of what they found to be KBR’s negligence in managing a water-treatment site in Iraq in 2003. But they may begin discussing the case with outsiders, following a pair of Wednesday orders issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak.
Papak on Wednesday denied KBR’s request to talk to the jurors after lawyers read two Oregonian accounts of their post-verdict reflections on the case. KBR had argued that their comments to The Oregonian demonstrated that the jurors had relied on information derived outside the courtroom. Papak had warned jurors throughout the three-plus week trial not to conduct extrajudicial research or fact-finding.
In his ruling Wednesday, Papak said KBR’s speculation about extrajudicial research in the trial was unfounded.
“Defendants’ … argument fall(s) well short of establishing that the jury was improperly exposed to prejudicial extraneous information,” wrote Papak. “In consequence, defendants’ motion is denied.” (Click HERE for article)
KBR case keeps percolating with charges of gag order violations
Though a Portland jury last month awarded 12 Oregon National Guard veterans $85 million because it found that defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent in exposing them to a hazardous chemical, the case continues to simmer in federal court in Portland.
On Friday, KBR’s lawyers charged that the soldiers’ lawyers had violated the gag order imposed by Magistrate Judge Paul Papak, who has instructed lawyers not to discuss the case. They produced an email flyer touting a DVD by a jury consultant to the soldiers’ law firm, Doyle Raizner of Houston. The email carries the headline: “$85 million KBR verdict using Eric Oliver’s methods.” (Click HERE for link )
“In this video, trial counsel Michael Doyle discusses how important Eric Oliver was in this victory,” the email flyer reads. “Doyle believes this is the first time a government contractor has been held responsible for injuring soldiers in the field.” (Click HERE for article)
KBR shouldn’t be able to sue government, Oregon members of Congress tell the Pentagon
(The Oregonian) – December 8, 2013 – Six Oregon members of Congress released a letter to the Pentagon Saturday urging it resist efforts by defense contractor KBR to have American taxpayers pick up the estimated $100 million bill after a federal court judgement last month in favor of 12 soldiers from the Oregon National Guard.
“Contractors that put our servicemen and women, as well as innocent civilians, at risk should be held accountable,” says the letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of defense. “At the very least, U.S. taxpayers must not be the ones paying for their mistakes. We are eager to see this case resolved and to hold accountable those that negligently expose our troops to toxic chemicals.”
The letter was signed by Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader. Wyden, Bonamicici and Schrader released the letter at a news conference Saturday. They were joined by about 20 of the Oregon National Guard veterans and their family who were part of the lawsuit against KBR. (Click HERE for article)