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Oregon National Guard victims demand that AOI not support KBR

Larry Roberta (seated in wheelchair) and other supporters rally at AOI offices in Salem.

Larry Roberta (seated in wheelchair) and other Qarmat Ali victims and supporters rally at AOI offices in Salem.

Associated Oregon Industries draws fire from injured vets

AOI to file brief on suit against military contractor
The Statesman Journal-by Queenie Wong-Aug 2, 2013

Connected to an oxygen tube, Oregon Army National Guard veteran Larry Roberta quietly moved back and forth in a wheelchair Friday holding a picket sign that read “Shame on you, Associated Oregon Industries.”

Roberta was among a dozen National Guard soldiers who were exposed to toxic chemicals while guarding a water plant during the Iraq war. The exposure to sodium dichromate, Roberta said, left him bed ridden for days with migraines and reduced his lung capacity.

In November, a federal jury in Portland found the military contracting company Kellogg Brown and Root Inc. guilty of negligence for exposing those soldiers to the chemicals.

The contractor was ordered to pay $85 million. Each soldier was awarded $6.25 million in punitive damages and $850,000 in noneconomic damages. Read the remainder of this entry »

Burn-pit claimants will appeal judge’s dismissal

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.

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KBR Secret Indemnity Agreement Signed By Army Chief Tainted In Enron Scandal

Army Secretary Thomas E. White signed an agreement giving legal indemnity to KBR in 2003. (AFP PHOTO by Luke Frazza)

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.

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KBR: Tax payers should foot the bill for our negligence

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.

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“This is not our first rodeo…” KBR’s view on Qarmat Ali etc…

And in typical KBR fashion, the next step after the verdict was rendered was not one of accepting responsibility, finally, but instead continue blame avoidance and misdirection. KBR struck out against the trial judge for the temerity of even permitting a public trial of KBR’s actions, the jurors for not baldly accepting KBR’s version of the facts, and our firm and clients. Not once did the company ever own up to their mistakes. Without the slightest legitimate basis for impugning the trial court or the jurors, KBR instead demanded an exception from the court’s rules for juror protection, insisting on an unsupervised “interview” by its lawyers or trial consultant of each juror to find out why such a verdict was placed in the soldiers favor.  The judge rejected this demand, finding that it was unsupported and unjustified. ~By Doyle Raizner

A Q&A with KBR’s vice president for litigation, Mark Lowes

Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – January 5, 2013 – When a federal jury in November awarded $85 million to 12 Oregon National Guard soldiers and veterans who sued defense contractor KBR Inc. in court in Portland, it marked a first step in what is sure to prove a very long course toward legal resolution.

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