Jury rejects woman’s rape claims in KBR suit
Houston Chronicle July 8, 2011
The jury also rejected Jamie Leigh Jones’ fraud claims against the Houston-based defense contractor.
Jones, 26, had sued KBR and former KBR fireman Charles Boartz, accusing the company of creating a “sexually hostile working environment” at its Camp Hope installation in Iraq in 2005. She named Boartz as one of the alleged rapists.
Boartz, 34, denied raping Jones, saying the two engaged in consensual sex. The jurors agreed with Boartz.
The jury also found that KBR did not commit fraud by inducing Jones to enter into an employment contract.
By answering “no” to those two questions, jurors were not obligated to continue deliberations on other questions in the jury charge.
The month-long trial ended earlier this week, with both sides delivering closing statements on Thursday. The jury deliberated about five hours on Thursday and six hours Friday.
Jones sued KBR in 2007, accusing employees of the former Halliburton subsidiary of imprisoning her in a shipping container for more than six hours after she reported the alleged attack. She testified during the trial that she was denied food, water or the opportunity to call home for help.
In closing statements Thursday, Jones’ lawyers said the company gave the green light for other employees to commit similar offenses by neglecting to enforce its sexual harassment policies as far back as the late 1990s.
Lawyers for KBR and Boartz accused Jones of making up the attack, pointing out that doctors’ tests showed no sign of drugs in her system after the alleged incident. Defense attorneys throughout the trial accused Jones of lying repeatedly on company documents and questioned what they said where inconsistencies in her story.
Jones’ lawyers asked jurors to order KBR to pay up to 5 percent of its net worth in actual and punitive damages, which they said would have amounted to more than $114 million
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