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Lawsuits claiming Houston-based KBR should have stopped a 2004 truck convoy in Iraq before six civilian drivers were killed and others injured in an ambush can go to trial, a federal judge ruled today.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller had previously dismissed the case, agreeing with KBR’s argument that it didn’t have the authority to keep the fuel convoys off the road and that a trial would be an improper challenge to military decision-making. KBR contracts with the military to provide logistical support.
But after an appeals court overturned his decision, Miller allowed the parties to gather more evidence, which turned up e-mails of KBR managers saying they thought they could stop the conveys and had done so in the past. Read the remainder of this entry »
Judge says Halliburton must stay in convoy death case
By MARY FLOOD HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Nov. 24, 2009, 6:41PM
A Houston judge ruled today that Halliburton must remain as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging it and its former subsidiary KBR knowingly sent civilian truck convoys into dangerous conditions the day six drivers were killed in 2004 in Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller found that Halliburton should remain in the case because plaintiffs have “numerous evidentiary examples of Halliburton’s involvement in the allegations giving rise to this litigation.”
Miller is considering a series of motions raised by the defendants to end three cases brought by injured plaintiffs and family members of the dead. The plaintiffs allege that KBR and its former parent, Halliburton, put profit above life in April 2004 when they deployed a convoy knowing about the heightened danger.
Miller previously dismissed the case, ruling that a civilian court could not second-guess military decisions. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Miller saying it may be possible to resolve the lawsuits without making a “constitutionally impermissible review of wartime decision-making.”
Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007. Last January it stated that it was paying off its final bill for KBR when it agreed to pay about $560 million to settle a Foreign Corrupt Practice Act case involving improper payments to Nigerian officials.
Halliburton has maintained the truck convoy lawsuits are based on KBR activity in Iraq, and Halliburton will be found to have no responsibility, legal or otherwise.
Miller did toss other corporate entities out of the lawsuit. KBR Inc. stays in the case. But KBR Holdings LLC and KBR International Inc. were let out. Also dropped from the suit were Halliburton Energy Services and DII Industries. (click HERE for original article)
I think Halliburton should stay in this suit. I remember in 2004 when I was there, KBR was clearly a subsidiary of Halliburton. Our email addresses were even “@Halliburton.com”.
Keep in mind several KBR drivers were killed and taken hostage. KBR driver Tommy Hammill escaped about a month later. Click HERE for more information on this tragic day.
I will be glad to see some closure for the victims of this tragic avoidable massacre!