Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Wyden calls for investigation into ‘excessive’ expenses by legal team for KBR

The Oregonian May 22, 2012

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is calling for the Department of Defense to investigate “excessive” expenses of the legal team of defense contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root, granted special indemnity for its contract in Iraq.

Wyden’s sharply worded letter sent Wednesday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta comes after recent investigations into KBR’s legal team uncovered costs that included attorneys bills of $750 per hour, numerous first-class flights and paying one expert more than $500,000 for testimony and consultation who admitted billing for time spent sleeping.

A lawsuit against KBR was brought by a group of Oregon Army National Guard assigned to provide security in 2003 for KBR personnel claims KBR management knew that the soldiers were being exposed to carcinogenic chemicals while working at a water treatment plant in Qarmat Ali.

The Pentagon legally covers dozens of military contractors doing dangerous jobs at home, such as making anthrax vaccine or disposing of mustard gas. The details of the immunity emerged in 2010 in a court case in Portland. It releases KBR from all financial liability for misconduct and allows KBR to pass all legal costs to the U.S. government.

“Essentially, KBR was handed a blank check with the Pentagon’s signature, and it seems clear to me that they intend to run up the bill as much as possible before cashing that check,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

Under KBR’s contract, the government has the ability to direct KBR’s legal defense and require it to settle with Oregon Guard, according to Wyden

Please see the original and read more here

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Department of Defense, Halliburton, KBR | , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge Denies Blackwaters Motion for Arbitration

Law Offices of Scott J Bloch  May 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC (May 23, 2012) – Blackwater Industries, which changed its name to Xe Services, and now has changed it yet again to Academi LLC, lost its initial bid to have the $240 million suit for employee misclassification sent to arbitration and dismissed from federal court in Washington, D.C.

Scott Bloch filed an amended complaint (see link above) in the class action lawsuit on behalf of four former security specialists, who were injured while working for Blackwater, in order to recover their payment of social security, unemployment insurance, and unpaid benefits and state and local withholding and unemployment insurance, and other unspecified damages. The action seeks $240,000,000 in damages for lost benefits, overtime, treble damages and punitive damages, as well as additional amounts as proved for the class of specialists.

The court has rejected that motion filed by Blackwater and required it to file another motion to determine if the same Plaintiffs agreed to have an arbitrator determine if the agreements were unconscionable, procured by duress, fraud and undue influence.

“Blackwater acted illegally and unconscionably toward these brave individuals,” said Bloch. ”Through their fraud as pointed out in the Amended Complaint, they avoided overtime for security workers who worked sometimes 12-16 hours a day 6 days a week. They were forced to sign agreements they never read and were not given time to read and not given copies, which took away valuable rights and were unlawful in their terms. Now the court has rejected their initial motion and required Blackwater to seek the same relief if they can prove that the Plaintiffs who never were allowed to read the original agreements agreed to have an arbitrator determine whether they properly agreed to anything. We continue to assert the illegality of the agreements and the actions of Blackwater.”

Read Xe’s Arbitration Bid Denied in Misclassification Suit here.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

N.J. man is awarded $50.4M after claiming he was cheated out of money from Afghanistan and Iraq construction

New Jersey .com Morristown  May 22, 2012

A judge in Morristown has awarded $50.4 million to a Livingston businessman who says he was cheated out of his share of proceeds from reconstruction work in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lawrence Longhi, 76, sued his former partner, Khaled Monawar, 35, a former East Hanover resident and nephew of a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who he says invited him to join a construction venture as a project facilitator and agreed to pay him one-third of their proceeds from a partnership that involved two other companies.

Monawar has not responded to Longhi’s lawsuit and was judged in default in 2010.

Under the order issued by Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury, Monawar must pay Longhi $8.4 million in compensatory damages and $42 million in punitive damages.

Hansbury said $42 million was the maximum amount allowed and called it “appropriate” because Monawar “has simply turned his back to these accusations and provided no attempt to explain the failure to honor the various obligations.”

Please see the original and read more here

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Foreign Doctors and Three Afghans kidnapped in NE Afghanistan

Officials: 2 foreigners, 3 Afghans abducted
May 23, 2012 07:08 GMT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Officials say two foreign doctors and three of their Afghan colleagues have been kidnapped in a remote area in the extreme northeast Afghanistan.

Abdul Maroof Rasikh, the spokesman for the governor of Badakhshan province, said on Wednesday that it’s unclear who kidnapped the five. He says the kidnapping occurred Tuesday as the group was traveling on horseback between Yaftal and Ragh districts about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the provincial capital of Faizabad.

He says the five were employed by a non-profit humanitarian organization, which reported the kidnapping.

Neither the name of the organization or the identities of the five who were abducted have been released.

A police official and the deputy governor also confirmed the kidnapping.

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractors Kidnapped, Contractors Missing, Humanitarian Assistance, NGO's, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment