Posted November 26, 2012 By Ms Sparky
NEIL GORDON – (POGO) – November 26, 2012 – November has been a very bad month for defense contractor KBR.
KBR is the federal government’s primary logistics support contractor in Iraq, receiving tens of billions of dollars in business from the Department of Defense over the last decade, much of that under the U.S. Army’s monopolistic Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III contract.
In early November, an Oregon federal jury returned an $85.2 million verdict against KBR for exposing military personnel to toxic chemicals at an Iraqi water treatment facility in 2003. The jury found that KBR had “acted with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety, and welfare” of the plaintiffs. A case raising similar claims is pending in KBR’s hometown of Houston, Texas, and will soon go to trial.
Filed in CHEMICAL AND OTHER EXPOSURES, Civilian Contractors, GOV. CONTRACTORS, Indictments, Convictions & Arrests, KBR, KBR Contract, KBR Investigations, LAWSUITS, Lawsuits Against KBR, LOGCAP III - KBR, Politics, Qarmat Ali Lawsuits, Qui Tam, Reports & Investigations, RIO-KBR, Sodium Dichromate @ Qarmat Ali | Tagged: Anthony J. Martin, False Claims Act, First Kuwaiti, LOGCAP III, Neil Gordon, POGO, Qarmat Ali, USACE
Posted November 21, 2012 By Ms Sparky
The US Army resists KBR’s attempt to “gobble” up more taxpayer dollars as KBR cries “fowl” and sues the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) after they refuse to indemnify the “turkey’s” [KBR’s] legal fees from exposure of Oregon National Guard troops and others to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali, Iraq. If I were the Army, I would be saying “Stick a fork in ‘em [KBR], they’re DONE!” (OK….that’s all the Thanksgiving cliche’s for now.)
On November 2, 2012, an Oregon federal jury ruled that KBR must pay $85 million to 12 Oregon National Guard members who allegedly suffered emotional distress after the company exposed them to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali.
Each guardsman was awarded $6.25 million in punitive damages after the jury determined that KBR “acted with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others,” as well as $850,000 in non-economic damages. Read the remainder of this entry »
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Filed in CHEMICAL AND OTHER EXPOSURES, GOV. CONTRACTORS, KBR, KBR Contract, KBR Files Suit, LAWSUITS, Lawsuits Against KBR, Qarmat Ali Lawsuits, RIO-KBR, Sodium Dichromate @ Qarmat Ali | Tagged: Britain, Hexavalent Chromium, Indiana National Guard, KBR, Oregon National Guard, Qarmat Ali, Sodium Dichromate, USACE, West Virginia National Guard
Posted November 5, 2012 By Ms Sparky
Some reflections on the KBR trial by a juror
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)
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.
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Filed in A Soldiers Story, CHEMICAL AND OTHER EXPOSURES, GOV. CONTRACTORS, KBR, KBR Contract, LAWSUITS, Lawsuits Against KBR, Qarmat Ali Lawsuits, RIO-KBR, Sodium Dichromate @ Qarmat Ali | Tagged: Aaron St. Clair, Charles Seamon, David Sugerman, Geoffrey Harrison, Hexavalent Chromium, Jason Arnold, KBR, Mike Doyle, Oregon National Guard, Qarmat Ali, Rocky Bixby, Sodium Dichromate
Posted November 2, 2012 By Ms Sparky
KBR verdict: $85 million awarded to 12 Oregon soldiers; KBR guilty of negligence, not fraud ~Mike Francis, The Oregonian
(The Associated Press) – Portland OR – November 2, 2012 – A jury on Friday ordered an American military contractor to pay $85 million after finding it guilty of negligence for illnesses suffered by a dozen Oregon soldiers who guarded an oilfield water plant during the Iraq war.
After a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for just two days before reaching a decision against the contractor, Kellogg Brown and Root. The company was ordered to pay $6.25 million to each of the soldiers in punitive damages and $850,000 in noneconomic damages.
The suit was the first concerning soldiers’ exposure to a toxin at a water plant in southern Iraq. The soldiers said they suffer from respiratory ailments after their exposure to sodium dichromate, and they fear that a carcinogen the toxin contains, hexavalent chromium, could cause cancer later in life.
Another suit from Oregon Guardsmen is on hold while the Portland trial plays out. There are also suits pending in Indiana and West Virginia.
KBR witnesses testified that the soldiers’ maladies were a result of the desert air and pre-existing conditions. Even if they were exposed to sodium dichromate, KBR witnesses argued, the soldiers weren’t around enough of it, for long enough, to cause serious health problems.
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Filed in CHEMICAL AND OTHER EXPOSURES, GOV. CONTRACTORS, KBR, KBR Contract, LAWSUITS, Lawsuits Against KBR, RIO-KBR, Sodium Dichromate @ Qarmat Ali | Tagged: Halliburton, Hexavalent Chromium, Iraq, KBR, Oregon National Guard, Qarmat Ali, Sodium Dichromate
Posted October 31, 2012 By Ms Sparky
Larry Roberta and wife Michelle (Photo by Mike Francis / The Oregonian)
A Halloween word: Boo!lean. Also, a note about KBR’s financials and a doctor’s testimony
Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – October 30, 2012 -The defense has rested in the case of Bixby et al., vs. KBR Inc. All that is left will be for the judge to instruct the jury and the lawyers to make their closing arguments. The jury will have the case early afternoon on Halloween.
A few notes from the afternoon, in descending order of importance.
1.) The medical expert called by KBR Inc., Dr. David Weill, a pulmonologist at Stanford University Medical Center, examined the medical histories of each of the 12 soldier-plaintiffs, dating from before, during and after their time in Iraq in 2003. In each case, he said, the symptoms the soldiers cite in the lawsuit — symptoms such as reflux disease, asthma and a skin rash — could not be associated with their service at Qarmat Ali. He said the symptoms included some pre-existing medical conditions, or weren’t reported until long after the deployment — too remote in time to be associated with exposure to hexavalent chromium nine years ago.
2.) Since Magistrate Judge Paul Papak has ruled that KBR Inc. remains as a defendant in this case, the soldiers’ lawyers seek to introduce some information about the company’s financial picture. That could be meaningful if the jury decides to award damages to the soldiers.
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Filed in A Soldiers Story, CHEMICAL AND OTHER EXPOSURES, GOV. CONTRACTORS, KBR, KBR Contract, LAWSUITS, Lawsuits Against KBR, Qarmat Ali Lawsuits, RIO-KBR, Sodium Dichromate @ Qarmat Ali | Tagged: Chris Kennedy, Chromium-6, COL Mark Lovell, Dr. David Weill, Hexavalent Chromium, Judge Paul Papak, KBR, Larry Roberta, Qarmat Ali, Sodium Dichromate, USACE