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Brian Bowling – (TribLive News) – May 14, 2013 – A federal jury can determine whether a Defense contractor is responsible for the electrocution death of a Shaler soldier without second-guessing the military’s choice of where to house troops in Iraq, a lawyer for the soldier’s parents argued Tuesday.
The jury doesn’t have to decide whether the Army made the right choice in housing Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, in a building with a substandard electrical system to determine whether KBR Inc. of Houston had the discretion to fix the water pump that electrocuted Maseth while he was taking a shower, said William Stickman.
If the jury decides the Army tied KBR’s hands, “we simply lose,” he told a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was hearing oral arguments in the Downtown federal courthouse.
Cheryl Harris of Cranberry and Douglas Maseth of Allison Park want the appeals court to reinstate their lawsuit against KBR Inc. for the Jan. 2, 2008, death of their son at the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Iraq.
Jim McElhatton – (Federal Times) – May 5, 2013 – Army contracting officer Robert Egan gave contractor KBR Inc. a rare ultimatum: Provide a firm, fixed price on remaining work to close out the largest government services contract in U.S. history. Or else, he added, he was finished talking.
“Until I see that FFP deliverable, I cannot enter further communication exchanges with your contracts team,” Egan told the company in a Feb. 26 email.
At issue is the final stage of the Army’s $38 billion Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III, the 12-year-old logistics contract that has supported virtually all U.S. military logistics operations in Iraq. The Army seeks to revise the pricing terms on the final work to be done on the contract to be firm, fixed price instead of cost-reimbursable. In response, KBR has filed a lawsuit seeking to keep to the existing cost-reimbursable terms.
At stake in the dispute is far more than varying interpretations of contracting procedures. By its own estimates, KBR says the closeout work on the contract will cost more than $500 Read the remainder of this entry »
Ryan J. Reilly – (Huffington Post) – Washington – January 24, 2013 – The Army official who signed a secret agreement that military contractor KBR claims should burden taxpayers with the bill for the company’s negligent poisoning of U.S. soldiers in Iraq resigned from the military in 2003 after a tenure marked by questions about his ties to Enron Corp.
Thomas E. White, named secretary of the Army in 2001, signed an indemnity agreement protecting KBR, the military’s largest contractor, from legal liability on March 19, 2003. KBR had asked for the agreement as part of its contract to rebuild Iraq oilfields destroyed in the U.S. invasion. White resigned a month later, on April 23, under fire for his previous role as a senior Enron executive and after clashing with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his advocacy for a multi-billion dollar artillery system.
Neil Gordon – (POGO) – January 11, 2013 – Mark Thompson posted an interesting federal contracting-related tidbit Tuesday on TIME’s national security blog, Battleland. He looked at a list of recent Department of Defense contract awards and noticed that many of them had received only one bid.
Of the 35 contracts in the list that Thompson reviewed, 20 of them, worth a combined $257 million, either solicited or received just a single bid. On many of them, including contracts awarded to big players such as Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), General Dynamics, Raytheon, and BAE Systems , the government solicited only one bid. Federal agencies are required to award contracts on the basis of full and open competition but are permitted to award non-competitive contracts in certain situations. The U.S. Army awarded 19 of the 20 contracts, which makes us wonder if the Army is perhaps taking its old “Army of One” slogan a bit too literally when it comes to contracting.
Doyle said the agreement may mean a taxpayer “bailout” for KBR. “It’s basically saying that no matter if we’re guilty of — willful misconduct, poisoning soldiers — taxpayers have to pay to cover us as well as whatever we decide to pay on lawyers at whatever rates and all these fees,” Doyle said. “That’s a pretty good bailout.” ~Huffington Post
Greta McClain – January 9, 2013 -Portland – After being found guilty of negligence in the poisoning of at least a dozen US soldiers deployed in Iraq, KBR is insisting that US tax payers foot the bill for damages.
In November of 2012, an Oregon Federal Court awarded $85 million to twelve Oregon National Guard members who stated they were exposed to a known carcinogen at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq in 2003. The National Guard soldiers were stationed at the facility to guard against attack from insurgents.