Associated Press at ABC News November 28, 2012
An Iraq war contractor that lost an $85 million verdict to a group of sickened Oregon soldiers has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to pay the soldiers’ damages.
In early November, 12 Oregon National Guard soldiers won the verdict against Kellogg Brown and Root, an engineering and construction firm that helped lead the reconstruction work in post-war Iraq. The soldiers were exposed to a toxin while guarding an Iraqi water plant.
In the new lawsuit, KBR also demands that the government pay more than $15 million in its attorneys’ fees.
At the heart of the suit is a so-called indemnification clause that KBR alleges it agreed to with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March 2003. The clause was designed to protect KBR against “unusually hazardous risks” in its work in Iraq.
In a Nov. 16 filing in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, KBR argues the clause makes the government responsible for the results of its actions in Iraq, including the Oregon verdict.
“Based upon an erroneous legal and factual analysis of the terms of the indemnification agreement, (the Army Corps) has refused to indemnify (KBR) for the costs of defending against the various third-party lawsuits,” KBR attorneys wrote, “and has refused to participate or assume direct responsibility in defending (KBR) in the underlying tort litigations.”
KBR said in the suit that it had no insurance to cover its wartime work, and the government’s refusal to involve itself in lawsuits constitutes a breach of the indemnification agreement.
Courthouse News September 6, 2012
WASHINGTON (CN) – Kellogg Brown & Root can force Uncle Sam to produce records on the Army’s alleged failure to provide force protection for KBR logistical services workers in Iraq, a federal judge ruled.
KBR could face civil penalties of more than $300 million, on the United States’ claims that it billed the federal government more than $100 million for private security contractors it hired.
The government says its LOGCAP III contracts with KBR prohibited the use of such contractors.
U.S. Chief Judge Royce Lamberth ruled on Aug. 31 that he would allow discovery, after dismissing, in April, the contractor’s argument that the federal government failed to provide adequate security.
KBR also asked the government to identify which KBR claims it believes are false, by releasing the invoices, and it sought documents relating to government contracts with other contractors in Iraq, and their relations with private security firms.
Lamberth ruled that the government already has released information relating to the specific claims in question, and that the government’s relationship with other contractors is not KBR’s business.
WASHINGTON – March 16, 2011 – In response to a pending lawsuit from Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. (KBR) in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Department of Justice has filed counterclaims alleging that KBR managers had received kickbacks from a dining facility subcontractor in violation of the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act. The subcontractor was retained in connection with KBR’s contract with the U.S. Army to provide logistical support to the military in Iraq and elsewhere. The counterclaims also allege that the kickbacks should cause KBR to forfeit its claims against the United States and to return money paid by the United States as reimbursement to KBR upon the tainted subcontract.
The counterclaims assert that, from late 2002 through 2003, Terry Hall, who was KBR’s regional food services manager for Iraq and Kuwait, and his deputy, Luther Holmes, received more than $45,000 in kickbacks from Mohammad Shabbir Khan, vice president of Tamimi Global Company. Khan provided the kickbacks to ensure that Tamimi was treated favorably by KBR. Hall and Holmes used their positions to advocate on behalf of Tamimi, and, during the time that they received the kickbacks, KBR awarded Tamimi subcontracts worth more than $400 million. Other KBR managers knew of apparent irregularities involving the Tamimi subcontracts, but approved them anyway.
In a sharply worded letter Wednesday, Blumenauer gave the secretary of defense five days to produce details of KBR’s claims of indemnification. The details of a secret agreement have emerged in a U.S. District Court case in Portland and were reported Tuesday in The Oregonian. Blumenauer said he plans to take his concerns to colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee.
“I find this mind-numbing,” Blumenauer said after sending the letter to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.
Twenty-six Oregon Army National Guard veterans who guarded KBR employees restoring Iraqi oil production in 2003 are suing the contractor, claiming the contractor knowingly or negligently exposed them to a cancer-causing chemical. Another 140 Indiana National Guard veterans have filed a similar suit. Read the entire story here
The men were providing security at a water plant near Basra where sodium dichromate was discovered.
They claim that its operator, Kellog Brown and Root (KBR), failed to protect them from the substance.
The men join 98 US soldiers suing KBR. It denies the allegations, saying necessary precautions were taken.
“If I’d have known what I now know, I would not have gone on that site and I would not have made my men operate on that site,” says Andy Tosh.
The former regiment sergeant served in several combat zones but it is his time in Iraq in 2003 which has left him worried for his future.
“I’m used to risking my life or defending the right cause if you want to call it that. But again that’s against things you would expect.
“You join the military to do a job, not to get exposed to a toxic chemical through a contractor,” he adds.
The lawsuit he and his former colleagues have joined relates to the time they spent providing security at the Qarmat Ali water plant, which was pumping water to nearby oil wells.