Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

The DBA’s Exclusive Remedy- A License to Kill

Halliburton and its former KBR Inc. subsidiary knowingly sent military supply convoys into danger on roads in the Baghdad area.

High court won’t hear case against Halliburton

SF Gate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled out reviving lawsuits against Halliburton Corp. over insurgent ambushes that killed civilian truck drivers in Iraq.

In its order Tuesday, the court said it will not review a federal appeals court ruling that threw out suits filed by truckers and their families claiming that Halliburton and its former KBR Inc. subsidiary knowingly sent military supply convoys into danger on roads in the Baghdad area.

The attacks killed seven KBR drivers and injured at least 10 others in April 2004.

The appeals court said a federal law prohibits the lawsuits because it provides workers’ compensation to civilian employees injured while under contract with defense agencies.

October 9, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, Halliburton, KBR, Lawsuits, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

KBR, Halliburton Won’t Face Trial in Iraq Convoy Driver Deaths, Judge Priscilla R Owen Says

The Defense Base Act’s Exclusive Remedy “A License to Kill”

The Exclusive Remedy was intended to be trade off to keep injured contractors from having litigate with their employers when they are injured.  As it turns out the employers are off the hook and the injured contractors fight for years for medical care and lost wages from private insurance companies, AIG, CNA, ACE

AIG has fought the survivors and families of those killed like they were common criminals for the death, medical, and lost wages that were to be provided “forthwith”.

And no one believes this could happen until it happens to them and their family.

Bloomberg  January 12, 2012

KBR Inc. (KBR) and its former corporate parent, Halliburton Co. (HAL), won’t face a jury on claims they sent unarmed civilian convoy drivers into an Iraqi battle zone in 2004, knowing the workers would be injured or killed, an appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans today ruled the drivers’ claims were blocked by the Defense Base Act, a U.S. law that shields military contractors from lawsuits. The drivers were attacked and injured because of their role in support operations for the U.S. Army, which is covered under that statute, the judges said.

“Coverage of an injury under the DBA precludes an employee from recovering from his employer,” even if the worker claims the company was “substantially certain” the injuries would occur, U.S. Circuit Judge Priscilla R. Owen said in a 30-page ruling by the panel.

KBR, a Houston-based government contractor, was sued in 2005 by the families of seven drivers killed while working inIraq for the largest U.S. military contractor. The company appealed a 2010 lower-court ruling that jurors could weigh the companies’ actions without second-guessing the actions of the Army.

Unarmed Civilians

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, who presided over the case in Houston federal court, refused to dismiss Halliburton, which spun off KBR as a separate company in 2007. Miller had also ruled that the companies couldn’t name the military as a co-defendant in the lawsuits, so the Army wasn’t required to defend its actions.

The drivers and their families claimed KBR officials fraudulently recruited workers for safe jobs in Iraq and intentionally sent unarmed civilians into a recognized combat zone in April 2004. KBR’s military-supply contract gave company officials the right to refuse assignments deemed too dangerous for civilians, according to the complaints.

KBR and Halliburton argued that they weren’t liable because they couldn’t refuse Army orders to dispatch the fuel convoys under terms of their multibillion-dollar supply contract with the U.S. military. The convoys were attacked at a time when Iraqi insurgents were escalating the fight against U.S. troops that had taken over the country to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

The case is Fisher v. Halliburton, 10-20202, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

January 12, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Halliburton, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

KBR Settles Lawsuit Brought by Driver Injured in Iraq Convoy

Bloomberg  January 10, 2012

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 injured driver, reached a“confidential settlement” with KBR and its former parent,Halliburton Co. (HAL), his lawyer Tommy Fibich said in court papers yesterday. Lane and the defendants asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, according to the filing.

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, and Fibich didn’t immediately return calls or e-mails seeking comment on the settlement.

The case is Lane v. Halliburton, 06-CV-01971, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston)

January 10, 2012 Posted by | AIG and CNA, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Halliburton, Iraq, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Families of dead Blackwater contractors settle suit

Bill Sizemore The Virginian Pilot  January 6, 2012

Seven years after it was filed, what could have been a landmark lawsuit over battlefield accountability in an era of privatized warfare has been quietly laid to rest.

As a result, the security company formerly known as Blackwater has avoided a public examination of the bloody event that catapulted the company to worldwide attention and changed the course of the Iraq war.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2005 by the families of four Blackwater guards killed in a convoy ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004. In what became an iconic image of the war, the four were shot and dismembered, and two of the bodies were strung from a bridge while a crowd of Iraqis cheered and chanted.

Televised images of the gruesome scene were flashed worldwide, prompting a devastating retaliatory assault on the city by U.S. forces that fanned the flames of the Iraqi insurgency.

The security company, now known as Academi, reached a confidential settlement with the families last week.

Two sources who insisted on anonymity said the company agreed to a total payout of $635,000 – a mere fraction of the legal fees in the long-running case, let alone the $30 million in claims and counterclaims at stake.

The settlement is in keeping with an aggressive makeover effort by Academi’s current owners, who bought the company from founder Erik Prince a year ago and are doing their best to distance themselves from allegations of lawless behavior at Blackwater, from the streets of Baghdad to the executive suite in Moyock, N.C.

Beyond any financial considerations, the Fallujah victims’ families never got what they always said they wanted most: an opportunity to hold the company publicly accountable for their loved ones’ deaths.

The four men – Wesley Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Michael Teague and Jerry Zovko – were traveling in two Mitsubishi SUVs, escorting a convoy of flatbed trucks to pick up kitchen equipment from a U.S. military base.

Please read the entire article here

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Defense Base Act, Follow the Money, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons to be sentenced but for ArmorGroup it’s business as usual

Danny Fitzsimons

In only a matter of hours , barring further delays,  Danny Fitzsimons will face sentencing for shooting and killing Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan in ArmorGroups living quarters in the Green Zone.  A possible death sentence.

The first Contractor to be tried in the Iraqi Courts under Iraqi Jurisdiction.

Lucky for ArmorGroup.

Under Iraqi Jurisdiction there was no formal inquiry into who armed a man with several psychiatric diagnoses,  a criminal record,  pending weapons charges, who was fired from two other security companies and was known to be a problem among his peers.

Under US or UK law ArmorGroup would bear some responsibility for arming a man this whacked.  Maybe even be considered accessory to the murders.

Negligence of this nature occurs as a matter of rule with some of these Contract Companies.  Like Armorgroup did,  just under bid the contract so you can win it.   The solution then is to understaff, overwork, refuse to provide the necessary equipment that was contracted and paid for, and put any warm body in place without vetting them to ensure that they are who and what they claim to be.

How many accidents, injuries, and deaths have occurred due to negligence of this nature?

We will never know.  Very few incidents are publicized.

Contractors with psychiatric meltdowns are spirited away and promoted or dumped on their families.  The victims of the melt downs are paid to keep them from filing a Defense Base Act Claim.

Deaths and Injuries of many foreigners are never filed on because they and their families do not know they are due benefits.  Defense Base Act Claim filings are the only numbers kept.

All accidents in the warzones are the fault of no one due to the DBA’s Exclusive Remedy and dead men tell few tales when no real unbiased investigation is required.

There has been a very vocal outcry from the families and friends of Paul McGuigan and to a lesser extent Darren Hoare regarding what a bad man Danny Fitzsimons is and how they cannot wait to see him hung.  We get these comments on our blogs as well as witness them in recent media coverage.

But there is an odd abscence of them laying any blame where it us undoubtedly deserved upon the negligence of ArmorGroup for arming Danny Fitzsimons and putting their loved ones in his path.

Confidentiality?

Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan paid for this negligence with their lives.

The families of all involved have paid dearly and always will.

Danny Fitzsimons will soon pay for his actions, as well as every wrong done by every Contractor to the Iraqi people.

Danny Fitzsimons is to the Iraqi’s what Raymond Davis is the Pakistani’s.

Danny Fitzsimons is Blackwater in their eyes.

Armorgroup continues to guard the US Embassy in Kabul despite having the low bid contract “taken away”.

February 19, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Judge tosses lawsuit against Blackwater over contractor deaths in Iraq after 6 years

A congressional investigation concurred with that view, calling Blackwater an “unprepared and disorderly” organization on the day of the ambush.

Blackwater suit tossed 7 years after grisly deaths

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit that blamed the security company formerly known as Blackwater for the deaths of four contractors killed in a grisly 2004 ambush on the restive streets of Iraq.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said court-ordered arbitration fell apart because neither side was paying the costs of that process, so he decided to shut the case nearly seven years after the killings. Katy Helvenston, the mother of contractor Scott Helvenston, said Tuesday the families couldn’t afford the costs, and she fears the case is over. The lawsuit was filed about a year after the men’s deaths.

“It’s pretty much destroyed my life,” Helvenston said. “I haven’t known one moment of joy since Scotty was slaughtered. I think the worst party is the betrayal from my country. I feel so betrayed.”

Insurgents killed the four contractors, then mutilated the bodies, dragged the charred remains through the streets and hung two of the corpses from a bridge. Images from the scene were relayed around the world, and the event triggered a massive U.S. military siege known as the Battle of Fallujah.

Survivors of the contractors contend Blackwater failed to prepare the men for their mission and didn’t provide them with appropriate equipment, such as a map. Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague were sent in Mitsubishi SUVs to guard a supply convoy. Their survivors argued they should have been given armored vehicles.

A congressional investigation concurred with that view, calling Blackwater an “unprepared and disorderly” organization on the day of the ambush.

Blackwater, however, argued that the men were betrayed by the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and targeted in a well-planned ambush. The company said the result of the ambush likely would have been the same even if they had stronger weapons, armored vehicles, maps or even more men.

Following a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, Blackwater changed its management, name and eventually its ownership. USTC Holdings, an investment firm with ties to founder Erik Prince, acquired the company that’s now called Xe Services in December. The deal includes its training facility in Moyock, N.C.

Daniel Callahan, an attorney representing the survivors, said they plan to appeal the ruling. Helvenston said she doesn’t expect success from further appeals.

An attorney for Xe didn’t immediately repond to requests seeking comment.

See Background Setback for families suing Blackwater

Fox 43 Pennsylvania Fox News

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit that accused the security company formerly known as Blackwater of wrongful death, closing the case more than six years after four company contractors were killed in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said in his decision that neither side was paying for court-ordered arbitration. The mother of one of the contractors said Tuesday the families couldn’t afford the costs and that the case appears over.

Insurgents killed the four contractors in a March 2004 ambush, then mutilated the bodies before dragging the charred remains through the streets and hanging two from a bridge.

Survivors of the men contend Blackwater failed to prepare them for the mission and didn’t provide them with appropriate equipment.

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Contractor found not liable for war-zone employee deaths

Is DynCorp having employees sign a separate waiver releasing them of liability or are they relying on the normally undisclosed Exclusive Remedy Clause in the Defense Base Act insurance?

There is no DBA insurance “policy” for employees to read or sign.

See Also:  The DBA’s Exlusive Remedy A License to Kill

Federal Times

In a decision that could have broad implications for government contractors, the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 8 upheld a lower court ruling that an employee-signed agreement waiving liability precludes lawsuits for wrongful death and negligence.

On Aug. 29, 2004, John Deuley and Gerald Gibson, two civilian police officers working for a subsidiary of DynCorp International, were killed in an attack on the State Department’s civilian police headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Joseph Dickinson, another civilian police officer, was severely injured in the attack.

Deuley’s and Gibson’s wives filed wrongful death and survival lawsuits, while Dickinson filed a personal injury lawsuit against DynCorp, headquartered in Delaware.

Please see the entire story here

December 14, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, DynCorp | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons from Death Row in Iraq: Left to rot

He was once a member of the Parachute Regiment – a hero. Now he sits in a cell on Iraq’s Death Row facing death by hanging.

Editor’s note:  G4S and Armorgroup have accepted no responsibility, nor will they be prosecuted for so negligently arming a man as mentally ill as Mr. Fitzsimons.   Negligence that resulted in the deaths of two men, one seriously injured, children orphaned, women widowed, and families bereft.  Negligence that doomed Mr Fitzsimons to this hell as well as he did by his own hand.

Mirror.co.uk News

Soldier-turned-mercenary Danny Fitzsimons is awaiting trial in Baghdad for shooting dead two men and wounding a third.

But speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, he insists he is the victim of a terrible injustice and begs the Government to secure his release and bring him home.

He says he killed his victims in self-defence as he battled terrible mental trauma from the nine years he spent serving in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

Fitzsimons, 30, from Middleton, Manchester, says: “I know my actions that night have caused a lot of pain to the relatives of the dead men. To their families and children I am truly sorry. I believe I need to be in a mental hospital in Britain and not in an inhumane dungeon in Baghdad. Many ex-soldiers like me are left to fight our demons alone.

“I stand little chance of a fair trial in Iraq and the psychiatric assessment here was a joke. Bring me home and let me get the help I so desperately need. I chose my life and stand by it but I don’t believe I deserve to be left to rot. Please don’t let me hang in Iraq.”

Fitzsimons shares his cockroachand rat-infested cell at Karadat Maryam police station with 17 other prisoners.

He says: “I’m being fed by some of my jail mates. Without them I would not have proper food or be able to take water.

“They don’t let us in the yard for air or sun and it’s like living in an oven in the cell. It is overrun with cockroaches and rats and filth.”

Fitzsimons was in Iraq as a military contractor working for British private security firm ArmorGroup, who he says took him on without carrying out a full medical assessment. Had the truth emerged, they would have found out he was discharged from 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment after being diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

He also had alcohol problems and was facing criminal charges for brandishing a flare gun at children outside his flat in Middleton. On his third visit to Iraq, last August, he was drinking with two fellow mercenaries when a row started. Fitzsimons says he punched Scottish ex-Royal Marine Paul McGuigan, 37, before the two made up. But he says later that night Paul and the second man, Australian father-ofthree Darren Hoare, also 37, attacked him. He says: “The two men came into my room with clear intention of doing me harm and attacked me in my bed in a drunken rage.” He says they threatened to kill him with an M4 assault rifle and he shot them three times with a Glock pistol. As he fled he shot an Iraqi security guard in the leg. He says: “I did exactly what I’ve been trained to do since 1996. I acted in self-defence to save my life.”

Paul’s fiancée Nicola Prestage disagrees, saying it was “an unprovoked attack”. Fitzsimons, who has been locked up for a year, is due to go before a judge on Wednesday for a trial date to be set. Iraqi doctors are assessing his mental health.

Clive Stafford Smith, of Human rights charity Reprieve, said: “It is unfathomable ArmorGroup would dispatch him and arm him in a war zone without proper screening.”

A spokesman for ArmorGroup admitted Fitzsimons’ screening was not completed in line with their procedures but added: “We received two separate medical documents which certified that Mr Fitzsimons was fit to work in Iraq. It has subsequently come to light that the most recent of those documents was forged – we have reason to believe it was forged by Mr Fitzsimons.”

Please read the very relevant comments on this post

or by Clicking here to go to the Defense Base Act Comp blog

August 1, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, G4S, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hang on a minute G4S

If Danny Fitzsimons faces the death penalty in Iraq due to Iraq’s version of what mental illness entails G4S, Armorgroup walks away unscathed despite their negligence in hiring a mentally ill man with drug and alcohol problems and a pending firearms charge  knowing he would be carrying weapons.

Due to the Defense Base Acts Exclusive Remedy, which relieves them of all  liability for injuries or deaths,  these companies can get away with murder.  If these contract companies were not allowed to work outside of US Laws on US Government contracts they would be considered responsible for the deaths of Darren Hoare and Paul McGuigan.

The families of those killed just might have a chance if he were tried in a UK or US Court, as long as it’s not the DoL’s Administrative System.

From Reprieve  Hang on a minute G4S

G4S, you’re one of the world’s largest private security firms, and not long ago one of your companies hired a man with serious mental health problems, packed him off to Iraq, and gave him a rifle.

Now he’s facing execution because he’s accused of using that gun to kill two men.

The least you can do is pay his legal costs, so that he can get a fair trial in Iraq. He shouldn’t have been there, and he shouldn’t have been armed.

So far, you have offered the equivalent of four seconds of your annual turnover to ‘help’ him out. His lawyers in Iraq say that a fair trial will cost you only one minute of your annual turnover. Surely that’s a cost worth paying for justice for an employee that you put in harm’s way?

Danny Fitzsimmon’s trial in Iraq has been adjourned until 13 June to allow him to be tested by the Psychiatric Medical Committee in Baghdad’s Al Rashad Mental Hospital.

G4S, can you spare a minute between now and then to help out your man?

June 13, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Contingency Contracing, Contractor Corruption, G4S, Iraq, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DynCorp declares ‘Earth Day’ at Camp Leatherneck (updated with pics)

May 27, 2010 — Ms Sparky

DynCorp seems to be making a proactive effort to support Earth Day by holding a “keep your burn pit clean day” at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan.  Oh wait it isn’t Earth Day, it’s “unauthorized” work day.   From what I can ascertain, one of Dyncorp’s “best and brightest” is running a-muck. Apparently a site manager (former KBR) took a bunch of Dyncorp employees (the word on the street is up to 50) on a little “honey do” project for the Military. “Honey do” aka “drug deal” aka “no paperwork”….in other words unauthorized work. One might say he was just helping out the client (military), just doing the client a favor. On the other hand it’s total fraud to do unauthorized work. I’d like to see what they put on those time sheets. It appears to be the same old thing. “Catch me committing fraud if you can.” (yawn-oh so boring) The DoD doesn’t seem to care to much about this so why should we. It’s just our damn tax dollars at work.

The thing that really disturbs me is the actually “honey do” project itself. Clean up the Camp Leatherneck burn pit. According the media the burn pits have burned everything from body parts, vehicles, unexploded ordinance, chemicals, metals you name it. This sounds more like a major Hazardous Material and Environmental clean-up and not a “Honey do” project. It sounds to me like a project that would require planning, equipment, material and support, Job Safety Analysis (JSA) or Activity Safety Analysis (AHA), protective clothing, gloves, and respirators.

Did any of these safety precautions take place? Apparently not. This site manager just marched them on out there to work. It totally pissed me off that even with all the media coverage about the health concerns and dangers of the burn pits, this idiot totally disregarded the health and safety of their employees in order to score points with the Military.

Now Dyncorp is in a quandary. There is no doubt this particular manager would fire anyone who did the same thing. Is Dyncorp going to fire him for cause for violating just about every damn rule and regulation there is.

Not to mention he screwed Dyncorp out of extra authorized work. Money money money, it’s all about the money!

If Dyncorp is wondering why things are so screwed up in Afghanistan. Just take a good look at this incident, which I’m sure is not an isolated one, and then head on up the management chain.

I hope the DCAA, DCMA, CWC and others are reading this.

Go here to view Photos of Dyncorp Workers with no Safety Gear

Gotta love that “Exclusive Remedy”

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, DynCorp, Safety and Security Issues, Toxic | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Briton in Court Over Iraqi Murders

A British security contractor who could face the death penalty over the murder of two colleagues in Iraq is due to appear in court.

Former paratrooper Danny Fitzsimons, 29, is accused of shooting dead fellow ArmorGroup employees Paul McGuigan and Darren Hoare, both 37, in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone in August last year.

His family says he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his experiences serving with the Army in the former Yugoslavia and as a private security guard in Iraq.  Original Here

April 6, 2010 Posted by | ArmorGroup, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Legal Jurisdictions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Danny Fitzsimons Trial in Baghdad Postponed

Trial of British Contractor in Iraq Postponed

The trial of a British security contractor accused of fatally shooting two colleagues has been postponed for a third time.

Danny Fitzsimons appeared briefly in an Iraqi court Thursday, only to be told to return on April 7.

It’s the third time the court hearings have been pushed back since Fitzsimons first appeared before a judge last November.

His lawyer, Tariq Harb, told The Associated Press that the latest delay was requested by the victims’ attorneys. It was not immediately clear why.

Fitzsimons is accused of shooting two colleagues, a Briton and an Australian, during a fight in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone last summer.

All three men were working for the British security firm ArmorGroup Iraq.

n Iraq Postponed

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Contractor Casualties | , , , , , , | Leave a comment