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(Bloomberg News) – Halliburton Co. (HAL), won’t face a jury on claims they sent unarmed civilian convoy drivers into an Iraqi battle zone in 2004, knowing the workers would be injured or killed, an appeals court ruled.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans today ruled the drivers’ claims were blocked by the Defense Base Act, a U.S. law that shields military contractors from lawsuits. The drivers were attacked and injured because of their role in support operations for the U.S. Army, which is covered under that statute, the judges said.
“Coverage of an injury under the DBA precludes an employee from recovering from his employer,” even if the worker claims the company was “substantially certain” the injuries would occur, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla R. Owen said in a 30-page ruling by the panel.
By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Laurel Brubaker Calkins – Jan 10, 2012 10:17 AM PT
KBR Inc. (KBR) settled a lawsuit brought by an injured convoy driver who claimed the company sent civilians into a battle zone in Iraq in 2004 knowing they would be attacked and possibly killed, according to a court filing.
Reginald Cecil Lane, the driver, reached a “confidential settlement” with KBR and its former parent, Halliburton Co. (HAL), his lawyer, Tommy Fibich, said yesterday in court papers. Lane and the defendants asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, according to the filing.
“Lane was severely injured in the attack, and his wife died during the pendency of the case,” Fibich said today in a phone interview. He declined to comment further on the settlement, citing the confidentiality agreement.
KBR, a Houston-based government contractor, was also sued by the families of seven drivers who were killed in Iraq. The company is appealing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Gray Miller in Houston allowing the suits to go forward. The other claims haven’t been settled, Scott Allen, a lawyer for the families, said today in a phone interview.
Sharon Bolen, a KBR spokeswoman, didn’t immediately comment on the settlement with Lane, which was reached in late December, according to appeals court records. Beverly Stafford, a Halliburton spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to a call or e-mail seeking comment on the settlement.
The drivers and their families claim KBR officials fraudulently recruited workers for safe jobs in Iraq and intentionally sent unarmed civilians into a recognized combat zone in April 2004. The military-supply contract gave company officials the right to refuse assignments deemed too dangerous for civilians, according to the complaints. Read the remainder of this entry »
Apparently the Army’s recent decision to not allow LGEN (Ret.) Ricardo S. Sanchez to supply expert testimony on KBR’s behalf didn’t sit well.
I am not going reprint the entire three page letter in this post. If you want to read it in it’s entirety click HERE. I am going to highlight what I consider to be the most disturbing and desperate statements in the letter followed by my Ms Sparky (snarky) interpretation. Read the remainder of this entry »
Judge permits convoy ambush trial, but delays it
By TOM FOWLER HOUSTON CHRONICLE – March 25, 2010
A federal judge ruled today that most of the lawsuits claiming Houston-based KBR should have stopped a deadly 2004 truck convoy in Iraq can move toward trial, but a May 24 trial date is off to allow KBR time to file an appeal.
The case centers on April 2004 attacks on a convoy of supply trucks KBR ran in Iraq, during which six civilian truck drivers were killed and 14 wounded.
The drivers caught in the ambush were delivering fuel under KBR’s multibillion-dollar contract to transport supplies, build bases, serve meals and provide other support services for American troops in the Middle East.
Plaintiffs in the Houston lawsuits — two injured workers and the family of one who was killed in the attack — allege that the company knew of the likelihood of the attacks in advance and had the authority to cancel the convoys.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller previously dismissed the collection of lawsuits, saying the U.S. Army had control over KBR and thus KBR wasn’t responsible.
Judge rules against Army in favor of KBR and the retired General who has sold his soul for $650.00hr
By MARY FLOOD – March 3, 2010, 11:03PM
Despite the Army’s efforts to block it, retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who once led U.S. forces in Iraq, is scheduled to be deposed today as an expert for KBR in a lawsuit over a deadly civilian truck convoy attack in Iraq.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson refused Wednesday to grant the Army’s request to prevent Sanchez from giving his expert opinions in the case.
Drivers and family members suing KBR contend the company should have stopped the convoys when it was warned that attacks would increase on April 9, 2004, the first anniversary of the day allies in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq reached Baghdad.
Sanchez, who at $650 an hour is already owed about $91,000 in expert fees, says KBR is not at fault for the six deaths and other injuries.
Sanchez wrote a report saying it was an Army communication error that led the attacked convoys to go down a road some in the military knew was supposed to be closed to civilian traffic. Read the remainder of this entry »