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Federal Court Orders U.S. Defense Contractor KBR To Stand Trial in Nepali Human Trafficking Case

Published: August 23, 2013

WASHINGTON — After a review of the evidence, a federal court today ordered the Nepali human trafficking case against Houston, Texas-based U.S. defense contractor KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor Daoud & Partners to proceed to trial. A trial date has been set for April 14, 2014. Lead plaintiffs counsel is Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.

The case involves 12 Nepali men, ages 18 to 27, who in 2004 were promised safe jobs in Jordan, but were instead involuntarily transported to Iraq. Eleven of the men were captured and killed by insurgents on the way to the U.S. Air Force base where they were to work. The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that KBR knowingly violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Court denied KBR’s motion that argued the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

In his order, Judge Keith Ellison, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, wrote, “the proffered evidence shows that each man was deceived about his promised job; each man was promised a hotel-related job in Jordan; each man’s family took on significant debt in order to pay recruitment fees; when the men arrived in Jordan, they were subject to threats and harm; their passports were confiscated; and the men were locked into a compound and threatened.” Read the remainder of this entry »

Larry Roberta (seated in wheelchair) and other supporters rally at AOI offices in Salem.

Larry Roberta (seated in wheelchair) and other Qarmat Ali victims and supporters rally at AOI offices in Salem.

Associated Oregon Industries draws fire from injured vets

AOI to file brief on suit against military contractor
The Statesman Journal-by Queenie Wong-Aug 2, 2013

Connected to an oxygen tube, Oregon Army National Guard veteran Larry Roberta quietly moved back and forth in a wheelchair Friday holding a picket sign that read “Shame on you, Associated Oregon Industries.”

Roberta was among a dozen National Guard soldiers who were exposed to toxic chemicals while guarding a water plant during the Iraq war. The exposure to sodium dichromate, Roberta said, left him bed ridden for days with migraines and reduced his lung capacity.

In November, a federal jury in Portland found the military contracting company Kellogg Brown and Root Inc. guilty of negligence for exposing those soldiers to the chemicals.

The contractor was ordered to pay $85 million. Each soldier was awarded $6.25 million in punitive damages and $850,000 in noneconomic damages. Read the remainder of this entry »

Ryan Maseth FHPI just received information this morning the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed Judge Nora Berry Fischer’s decision to dismiss Cheryl Harris’ wrongful death lawsuit against KBR.

Judge Nora Barry Fischer Opinion to Dismiss Harris vs KBR (pdf)

Many of you have been following this case since I started posting about it in 2008. Cheryl’s son, 22 year old SSG Ryan Maseth, was electrocuted and died in a shower in his living quarters on January 2, 2008 in Baghdad, Irag. The electrocution was determined to be caused from a water pump that was improperly installed and not properly grounded by KBR.

KBR has always claimed the Army was responsible and that they (KBR) were protected by the Political Question Doctrine and immune from civil action. Well I guess that may not be the case.

I will update when I get more information! It looks like Cheryl Harris and Ryan Maseth just might get their day in court!!

UPDATED: Other articles are this decision to reverse lower court ruling

Federal lawsuit against contractor is revived in Pa. soldier’s shower electrocution in Iraq

Fed court revives KBR electrocution suit

Suit Over Pa. Soldier’s Death in Iraq Is Revived-AP

 

Burn-pit claimants will appeal judge’s dismissal

Posted June 6, 2013 By Ms Sparky

Patricia Kime – (Air Force Times) – June 4, 2013 – Attorneys representing former troops and family members who say they were sickened by exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their cases.

Alexandria, Va., lawyer Susan Burke and attorneys from the South Carolina firm Motley & Rice filed an appeal Wednesday arguing that Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus’s decision in February to toss out 57 consolidated lawsuits filed against KBR, Inc., was “non-justifiable.”

Titus ruled Feb. 28 that as a government contractor working in a war zone, KBR was entitled to the same legal protection and immunity as U.S. armed forces operating in combat. He also argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on decisions made by another branch of government.

Read the remainder of this entry »

DoJ warns of fallout in Army-KBR contract dispute

Posted June 6, 2013 By Ms Sparky

Jim McElhatton – (Federal Times) – June 4, 2013 – The outcome of a court battle between the Army and KBR over the final stages of LOGCAP III, the largest government services contract in U.S. history, could affect tens of thousands of federal contracts while creating “enormous uncertainty” for vendors and the government alike, according to the Justice Department.

The warning, delivered in the footnote of a recent U.S. Court of Federal Claims pleading, marks the latest development in a dispute to decide how to close out the 12-year-old, $38 billion military logistics contract supporting military operations in Iraq.

While the Army has pushed to change the LOGCAP III pricing structure to a firm, fixed-price basis, KBR has sued to keep the closeout work under the existing cost-reimbursable arrangement. Read the remainder of this entry »