In the latest of the twists and turns in the hexavalent chromium lawsuit brought by Oregon National Guard troops against mega defense contractor KBR, the U.S. Court of Appeals-Ninth Circuit declined to review Judge Papak’s rulings in the Oregon case.
In an unusual legal maneuver last September, KBR attorneys asked the U.S. District Court in Oregon for permission to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit even before the trial started let alone after a verdict had been rendered.
In a 19-page memorandum, attorneys for KBR argued that the case raises unique issues and they should be resolved prior to discovery and trial.
In October Judge Papak agreed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit should review his decision.
Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied KBR’s petition and dismissed the appeal. This case will stay in the trial court.
This is a huge victory for the Oregon National Guardsmen and others who were allegedly poisoned at the hand of KBR at the water treatment plant in Qarmat Ali, Iraq.
This case has exposed the little known practice of contract indemnity given by the Pentagon to defense contractors who have been awarded multi-million dollar contracts. KBR’s “classified” Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) contract in Iraq has such a clause. Basically, even if KBR is found negligent and the Oregon National Guard and others are awarded damages, the DoD and therefore the taxpayer will pick up the tab!
We have been following this story since the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held their first hearings on this in 2008. We will continue to follow this story all the way to the end.
HERE’s a link to Mike Doyle’s post at Doyle Raizner
Updated: December 15, 2010:
KBR issued a statement: “This is a procedural ruling with which we are disappointed. Regardless, this ruling does not change the facts of the case. KBR’s position remains that no soldier was injured nor has any soldier demonstrated an injury. The medical evidence confirms these facts.”