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KBR can’t recover $2M from Jones; case not frivolous says Judge

Jamie Leigh Jones

John O’Brien – (Legal Newsline) – HOUSTON  – September 27, 2011 – Jamie Leigh Jones, the woman who alleged her employer was at fault for a rape that a jury said never happened, must pay court costs to the company she sued but not its attorneys fees.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison ruled Monday on Kellogg, Brown and Root’s motion for costs and attorneys fees, more than two months after a federal jury found that Jones was not raped while an employee of KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton.

He ruled that Jones is on the hook for KBR’s $145,073.19 in court costs. Citing a federal rule of civil procedure, Ellison wrote “costs – other than attorneys fees – should be allowed to the prevailing party.”

A federal jury decided in July that Jones, whose case became a talking point for those who sought mandatory arbitration reform, was not raped in Iraq while employed by KBR. The company moved on Aug. 17 to have its attorneys fees paid by Jones. KBR spent more than $2 million on attorneys fees.

In fighting the lawsuit, KBR had argued a mandatory arbitration clause in her employment contract had prevented her from suing the company in open court. An appeals court sided with Jones on that issue, but jurors ruled in July that Jones and Charles Bortz had engaged in consensual sex. Read the remainder of this entry »

How Women Won the KBR Rape Case

Whatever the outcome of the Jamie Leigh Jones trial, victims of sexual assault may now get their days in court.

Jamie Leigh Jones

Pema Levy – (The American Prospect) – July 11, 2011 – In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones went to work in Baghdad’s Green Zone for KBR, then an engineering and construction subsidiary of the defense contractor Halliburton. Upon arrival, she was placed in co-ed barracks where the ratio of men to women was 20 to 1. Four days later, Jones said that she was slipped the date-rape drug Rohypnol and gang raped by fellow KBR employees. When she reported the crime, Halliburton locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours without food or water, and barred her from contacting anyone outside.

Last month, Jones’ case against KBR employee Charles Boartz for rape and against KBR for knowingly sending her into a hostile work environment finally went to trial. On Friday, a jury found Boartz and KBR not guilty.

Jones’s story won the sympathies of millions; she now has a contract for both a book and movie, and was prominently featured last month in HBO’s Hot Coffee, a documentary about the corporate campaign to restrict access to the justice system. But at trial, Jones’ story fell apart. As Stephanie Mencimer reported in Mother Jones last week, KBR found experts and evidence that cast doubt on large portions of Jones’ story. Jones claimed, for example, that she had two sips of a drink and doesn’t remember anything else, but KBR dug up a report in which she admitted to having five drinks. No evidence of Rohypnol was found in blood tests. Jones also alleged her breast implants were ruptured by the violent assault, but the doctor who treated her the next day said this wasn’t true either. The allegation that there were multiple attackers was thrown out for lack of evidence, and prosecutors brought up that Jones had reported being raped twice in the past and had taken drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

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Jury deliberating Jamie Leigh Jones case against KBR

Jurors weigh lawsuit against KBR over alleged rape

Jamie Leigh Jones

JESSICA PRIEST –  (HOUSTON CHRONICLE) – July 7, 2011 – Attorneys for a woman who says she was drugged and gang-raped while working in Iraq for defense contractor Kellogg Brown & Root said in closing statements Thursday that the company gave the green light for other employees to commit similar offenses by neglecting to enforce its sexual harassment policies as far back as the late 1990s.

Jamie Leigh Jones’ attorney, Ron Estefan, told jurors that KBR had known it had a problem with sexual harassment since 1998 because it specifically hired a consultant to correct it. He said the company subsequently fired Jones when fixing the problem became too costly.

“The minute they made the decision not to enforce its rules, they cast the first die,” Estefan said.

Jones, 26, sued KBR and company firefighter Charles Boartz over the incident she alleged occurred in 2005 while she was stationed at the company’s Camp Hope installation in Iraq. She also is accusing the Houston-based firm of creating a “sexually hostile working environment” by neglecting to enforce its sexual harassment policies.

Lawyers for KBR and Boartz, the lone man accused of the rape by name, accused Jones of making up the attack, pointing out that doctors’ tests showed no sign of drugs in her system after the alleged incident.

“I know it might make a better manuscript … to tell the story that Jamie was gang-raped and locked in a shipping container, but I am asking you to reject that fiction,” defense lawyer Joanne Vorpahl told jurors in closing statements.

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Closing arguments set for today in Jamie Leigh Jones rape case

Jury deliberations near on Iraq rape allegations
(The Associated Press) – HOUSTON  – July 7, 2011 –  Attorneys are scheduled to deliver their closing arguments to a federal jury in Houston in the civil case of a former military contractor who says co-workers raped her in 2005 as she worked in Iraq.

Arguments are scheduled for Thursday in the lawsuit that Jamie Leigh Jones filed against Houston-based KBR Inc., ex-parent Halliburton Co. and a former KBR co-worker she says raped her. All deny Jones’ allegations.

Jones says she was attacked while working for KBR at Camp Hope in Baghdad in 2005. She is seeking unspecified damages from the Houston-based companies, which split in 2007.

The Associated Press usually doesn’t identify people alleging sexual assault, but Jones’ face and name have been in media reports and on her own website. (Click HERE for original article)

Accused rapist Charles Bortz sez it was consensual

Charles David Bortz Mugshot from October 2006 arrest for Battery in Okaloosa County Florida

Boartz, who said he was interviewed by the State Department two days after the alleged attack, was not questioned as aggressively by KBR as Jones. Boartz also said he was not disciplined by the company for the alleged rape. Boartz said he quit KBR in May 2006, 10 months after Jones’ allegations surfaced

Click HERE for STATE OF FLORIDA vs. BORTZ, CHARLES DAVID JACOB Case no. 2006 MM 003896 S
Click HERE for STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA vs. BORTZ, CHARLES DAVID JACOB Case no. 56970EP

Man named in KBR suit says sex was consensual

Jessica Priest – ( Houston Chronicle) – June 23, 2011 – A former KBR firefighter maintained today that he had consensual sex with a Houston-area woman who claims she was drugged and raped while working for the defense contractor in Iraq.

Jamie Leigh Jones, 26, formerly of Conroe, sued KBR in federal court in May 2007, saying she was raped by several Kellogg Brown & Root firefighters while stationed at KBR’s Camp Hope installation in Baghdad in 2005.

Jones also is accusing the Houston-based firm of creating a “sexually hostile working environment” by neglecting to enforce their sexual harassment policies, according to court documents.

Charles Boartz, 34, the only alleged assailant identified in the suit, told jurors Thursday that he and Jones shared a drink at a party with several KBR employees before she invited him back to her barracks. He said the two had intercourse in her room and in the barrack’s stairwell and that the only time Jones asked him to stop was when she became concerned that he already was seeing another woman.

“I told her I was fine, and we continued,” Boartz said.

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