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Lawyer: Military’s housing choice irrelevant

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.

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KBR Driver Prevails in Suit Over Convoy Danger in Iraq

KBR Settles Suit Over Driver’s Claim Company Knew of Danger to Iraq Convoy

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.

Recruited Workers
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 »