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Federal Court Orders U.S. Defense Contractor KBR To Stand Trial in Nepali Human Trafficking Case
Published: August 23, 2013
WASHINGTON — After a review of the evidence, a federal court today ordered the Nepali human trafficking case against Houston, Texas-based U.S. defense contractor KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor Daoud & Partners to proceed to trial. A trial date has been set for April 14, 2014. Lead plaintiffs counsel is Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
The case involves 12 Nepali men, ages 18 to 27, who in 2004 were promised safe jobs in Jordan, but were instead involuntarily transported to Iraq. Eleven of the men were captured and killed by insurgents on the way to the U.S. Air Force base where they were to work. The plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that KBR knowingly violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Court denied KBR’s motion that argued the plaintiffs did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
In his order, Judge Keith Ellison, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, wrote, “the proffered evidence shows that each man was deceived about his promised job; each man was promised a hotel-related job in Jordan; each man’s family took on significant debt in order to pay recruitment fees; when the men arrived in Jordan, they were subject to threats and harm; their passports were confiscated; and the men were locked into a compound and threatened.” Read the remainder of this entry »
Patricia Kime – (Air Force Times) – June 4, 2013 – Attorneys representing former troops and family members who say they were sickened by exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their cases.
Alexandria, Va., lawyer Susan Burke and attorneys from the South Carolina firm Motley & Rice filed an appeal Wednesday arguing that Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus’s decision in February to toss out 57 consolidated lawsuits filed against KBR, Inc., was “non-justifiable.”
Titus ruled Feb. 28 that as a government contractor working in a war zone, KBR was entitled to the same legal protection and immunity as U.S. armed forces operating in combat. He also argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on decisions made by another branch of government.
Jim McElhatton – (Federal Times) – June 4, 2013 – The outcome of a court battle between the Army and KBR over the final stages of LOGCAP III, the largest government services contract in U.S. history, could affect tens of thousands of federal contracts while creating “enormous uncertainty” for vendors and the government alike, according to the Justice Department.
The warning, delivered in the footnote of a recent U.S. Court of Federal Claims pleading, marks the latest development in a dispute to decide how to close out the 12-year-old, $38 billion military logistics contract supporting military operations in Iraq.
While the Army has pushed to change the LOGCAP III pricing structure to a firm, fixed-price basis, KBR has sued to keep the closeout work under the existing cost-reimbursable arrangement. Read the remainder of this entry »
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 »