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Army veteran’s lawyer argues to reinstate KBR lawsuit

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A federal appeals court should reinstate an Iraqi war veteran`s lawsuit against a defense contractor because the contractor delayed revealing information that would have allowed doctors to diagnose and treat the veteran’s illness, a lawyer for the Pleasant Hills man argued today.

Fred Jug, one of the lawyers representing Glen Bootay, 32, said KBR Inc. of Houston had an obligation to warn Bootay and other soldiers in April 2003 about the danger of being exposed to sodium dichromate that was spread around the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility they guarded while KBR employees restored it to service.

Instead, the company went so far as to immediately transfer one of its own employees who raised the question of warning the soldiers, he said. “That is outrageous,” Jug said during the hearing at the federal courthouse, Downtown.

Kurt Hamrock, a lawyer for KBR, urged the three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry`s Sept. 9 ruling that the company had no duty to warn the soldiers about the danger of being exposed to the chemical.

Bootay sat in a wheelchair at the back of the courtroom during the hearing. Rob Bootay said his brother was too exhausted to talk afterward. The chemical exposure has given the former combat engineer chronic health problems that include constant headaches, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, extreme fatigue and short-term memory loss, according to his lawsuit. (click HERE for original article)

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry…very very confused

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry

Judge dismisses veteran’s lawsuit against Iraq war contractor

He claimed tainted water sickened him

Saturday, September 11, 2010
By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Click HERE Judge McVerry’s Opinion

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former soldier who claimed he was sickened because a military contractor running an Iraqi water treatment facility failed to warn him about chemical contamination there.

Glen Bootay, 31, of Pleasant Hills, filed the complaint one year ago alleging negligence, breach of contract and fraud against KBR, which was tasked with getting the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility up and running again.

Mr. Bootay, who joined the Army the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was sent to Qarmat Ali in April 2003. He stayed at the plant for only four days.

He claimed in his lawsuit that the facility was coated in an orange dust called sodium dichromate, a dangerous chemical known to cause cancer.

The Iraqi Baath party allegedly spread the chemical to sabotage the treatment plant.

Mr. Bootay, who was honorably discharged from the Army in September 2003, claims that he suffers from constant headaches and chest pain, collapse of his lungs, extreme fatigue, the inability to sweat, kidney stones, loss of consciousness and short-term memory loss.

Though U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry called him a “sympathetic plaintiff,” he wrote in his 22-page opinion released Thursday that KBR had no specific duty to prevent Mr. Bootay’s exposure to the sodium dichromate.

It was the Iraqis who created the sodium dichromate hazard and it was the Army who ordered Mr. Bootay to perform a duty mission at Qarmat Ali,” the judge wrote.

Although KBR had a duty to inform the military about the contamination, that duty does not extend to individual service members, he continued.

Requiring KBR to do so would intrude into the military’s chain of command, the judge said.

“Similarly, although the public undoubtedly has an interest in notifying soldiers of possible exposure to environmental toxins, that interest is distinctly outweighed by the public interest in the military’s ability to conduct a war,” Judge McVerry wrote. “Indeed, the military routinely exposes its soldiers to more direct and substantial dangers.” (click HERE for original article)

I have highlighted some of Judge McVerry’s statements above. I am going to add them to my list of “The most idiotic things I’ve heard a judge say!” ~ Ms Sparky