Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Judge declines to dismiss Oregon soldiers’ case against KBR

The Oregonian  August 30, 2012

Magistrate Judge Paul Papak this week denied KBR’s request to throw out the lawsuit by 12 Oregon soldiers. The 12 in the lawsuit are part of a group who accuse the company of knowingly exposing them to a carcinogen, hexavalent chromium, that was present at a water treatment plant in southern Iraq where the soldiers were assigned to provide security for KBR engineers.

The company denies the charge.

Papak also denied requests by both sides to exclude the others’ expert witnesses, except to limit the extent of the medical opinions offered by Dr. Arch Carson, who said the soldiers’ suffered “genetic transformation injury” as a result of their exposure to the carcinogen. Carson’s testimony will be allowed, but he will not be allowed to argue that the injury persists to the present day. Papak noted that Carson conceded “that he lacks a good scientific basis” for that portion of his opinion.

Please see the original here

August 31, 2012 Posted by | KBR, Legal Jurisdictions, Toxic | , , , | Leave a comment

DOJ to seek new indictment in Blackwater shooting

WASHINGTON AP  

The Justice Department plans to bring a new indictment against four Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a 2007 shooting that killed 17 Iraqis.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina had thrown out the case in 2009, but an appeals court reinstated the charges last year.

Urbina, who has since retired, said prosecutors built their case on sworn statements the guards had given under a promise of immunity.

A Justice Department attorney told Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday that a special team will ensure that prosecutors working on the new indictment don’t have access to “privileged statements.” Prosecutors say they will seek a superseding indictment after gathering additional evidence.

The guards are accused of opening fire in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.

 

July 26, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mercenaries Sue Blackwater Over Fake Gun Tests

Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room  July 16, 2012

The security firm once known as Blackwater has repeatedly tried to distance itself from its bad old days of wrongful death and corporate misconduct. But a new lawsuit filed by two former employees raises questions about whether the firm’s kinder, gentler rebranding is more than skin deep.

Two former employees of the firm, now called Academi, say that they were fired from their jobs in Afghanistan after blowing the whistle on an attempt by a colleague to falsify dozens of marksmanship tests for security contractors. Robert Winston and Allen Wheeler thought that they were following Academi’s new ethics guidelines, which require employees to report suspected instances of waste, fraud and abuse. But not only were Winston and Wheeler fired, they allege Academi arranged with the State Department to blacklist the two security contractors from finding future work with private security firms.

According to the lawsuit, which Nation reporter Jeremy Scahill first tweeted about on Thursday, Winston and Wheeler witnessed a fellow firearms instructor twice fail to record the results of shotgun and machine-gun training amongst dozens of Colombian employees of Academi. The State Department, which hires Academi to protect its diplomats in conflict zones, requires weapons certification from the guards: If contractors can’t properly fire their weapons, they’re a danger to diplomats in need of protection and innocent civilians nearby.

But on two occasions in March 2012, Winston and Wheeler say that instructor Timothy Enlow informed the State Department inaccurately that Academi’s guards were proficient with shotguns and machine guns. On the second occasion, Enlow failed to bring an M249 belt-fed machine gun to the test range near Kabul, but reported a successful test anyway.

“I know there is a lawsuit about Academi not qualifying contractors properly with the belt fed machine guns,” Enlow told the would-be marksmen, according to the lawsuit, “but I am going to help you guys out.”

Please see the original and read more here

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ronco Consulting named in Contractor Lawsuit for EEOC violations

Ronco Consulting was named in the Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit against Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and some Overseas Civilian Contractor Companies.

The EEOC granted a former Ronco Consulting Employee and American Injured War Zone Contractor the Right to Sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act after investigating the complaint.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Even those who were disabled due to the negligence of the company in question.

May 22, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Defense Base Act, Government Contractor, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Taxes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

United Nations board of inquiry finds Ronco Consulting failed to find mines

Careful who you follow….

Fartham vs Ronco Consulting

A United Nations Mine Action Employee has filed a lawsuit against Ronco Consulting Corporation for negligence after stepping on a landmine resulting in an immediate below the knee amputation in an area previously cleared by and certified clear of landmines by Ronco Consulting.

The United Nations board of inquiry found that Ronco failed to find the mine that injured Mr Fartham as well as three other mines.

The complaint states that Ronco Consulting, acting through it’s agents and/or employee’s, breached it’s professional duty of care to Fantham and did not exercise the reasonable care and skill expected of professional mine clearance companies.

Fartham vs Ronco Consulting

May 10, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Government Contractor, Landmines, Lawsuits, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations, Vetting Employees | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon case against KBR is streamlined

Mike Francis Oregon Live  April 10, 2012

The suit brought by several dozen Oregon National Guard soldiers against military contractor KBR Inc. has been downsized by the federal judge hearing the case.

In an effort to reduce the number of plaintiffs to a manageable number, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak has ordered trial to proceed in October with 12 plaintiffs — four chosen by lawyers for each side, and four selected by the court.

Separately, one plaintiff, Michael O’Rielly, has withdrawn from the case at his own request.

That leaves 21 soldiers whose case against KBR will be set aside while the trial of the first dozen proceeds in Portland this fall.

And on a parallel track, lawyers for KBR and the soldiers agreed Tuesday to take their arguments before a mediator in Harris County, Texas, where KBR is based. The mediation, which is scheduled for August, will cover the cases brought the Oregon soldiers and by soldiers from the Indiana National Guard. Mediation may lead to a settlement, but if it doesn’t, the trial of the first 12 Oregon soldiers will proceed.

The first 12 soldiers scheduled to take their case against KBR are: Jason Arnold, Rocky Bixby, Ronald Bjerklund, Colt Campredon, Charles Ellis, Byron Greer, Matthew Hadley, Brian Hedin, Vito Pacheco, Larry Roberta, Charles Seamon and Aaron St. Clair.

The soldiers are suing KBR because they believe the contractor knowingly exposed them to a carcinogenic compound when they were assigned to provide security at a water treatment plant in southern Iraq. KBR was hired to help restore Iraq’s oil production after the invasion, and the Oregon soldiers were among those who guarded them as they worked.

A compound called sodium dichromate, used as an anticorrosive agent, was present at the site, and some of the soldiers have developed symptoms consistent with the effects of sodium dichromate exposure. At least two members of the Indiana National Guard who guarded the Qarmat Ali plant have died — one from lung cancer and another for what was called “chronic interstitial lung disease.”

KBR denies that it knowingly exposed the soldiers to a dangerous chemical compound.

Please see the original and read more here

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Halliburton, Iraq, KBR, Toxic | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ronco Consulting settles Fantham Lawsuit before bothering to respond

What a disappointment that this lawsuit never made it to discovery. 

The history of how this contract was managed deserved to be exposed. 

Another day…..

Ronco made this lawsuit go away, but this United Nations Board of Inquiries Report and others stand.

And no matter how big a settlement, Stephan will not be growing any body parts back

Careful who you follow

Substantial Settlement Achieved in Personal Injury Suit:

In August 2011, Blake Hannafan and Jim McGuinness settled a Personal Injury lawsuit on behalf of Stephen Fantham, arising from a traumatic leg amputation as a result of a land mine explosion in Sudan, Africa, against Ronco Consulting Corporation pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In addition, the settlement also included claims for loss of consortium to Mr. Fantham’s wife. The settlement was reached before Ronco even responded to the complaint.

The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.

Ronco Consulting Sued for Negligence by United Nations Mine Action Employee

Fantham vs Ronco Consulting

January 10, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Follow the Money, Landmines, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, Safety and Security Issues, Sudan, Uncategorized, United Nations, United Nations Board of Inquiry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blackwater Settles Nisoor Square Lawsuit

Charlotte lawyers sought damages in six deaths and injuries in 2007 incident that sparked debate over use of private security contractors.

The Charlotte Observer January 6, 2012

 

Ali Kinani

“With respect to the Iraqi families and individuals who were plaintiffs in this lawsuit (it) provides them with compensation so they can now bring some closure to the losses they suffered,” the statement reads.

The lawsuit was the last active civil suit stemming from the incident, in which five Blackwater guards were accused in 14 deaths.

It was the second confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington-Va.-based Academi announced Friday, days after the final U.S. troops left Iraq.

A federal appeals court ended a lawsuit over an episode that produced one of the more disturbing images of the war: the grisly killings of four Blackwater security contractors and the hanging of a pair of their bodies from a bridge in Fallujah.

Families of those victims reached a confidential settlement with the company’s corporate successor, Arlington, Va.-based Academi, and the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit last week. The settlement was first reported Friday by The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va.

Please see the original and read more here

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Follow the Money, Iraq, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions, Politics, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Firm once known as Blackwater faces another suit

By MATTHEW BARAKAT  Associated Press  at Blue Ridge Now  July 14, 2011

A current worker and a former employee of the security contractor previously known as Blackwater have filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, the second such suit filed against the firm, according to documents unsealed Thursday.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleges that Blackwater, now known as Xe, overbilled the government for work protecting State Department employees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of the alleged fraud included billing for sniper services from individuals who were not properly qualified.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Blackwater billed the State Department for sniper services from one individual who sat behind a desk. In at least one other case, the company allegedly billed for services provided by a marksman who had failed a required drug test.

A spokesman for Moyock, N.C.-based Xe declined comment Thursday, citing the pending legal action. The company has denied similar allegations in the past

Please read the details here

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Corruption, Contractor Oversight, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , | 1 Comment

Families sue military contractor Mission Essential Personnel over soldier deaths in Afghanistan

Fay Observer    July 12, 2011

The families of two Fort Bragg soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last year by a disgruntled interpreter have filed a lawsuit against the military contractor for whom the man worked.

Capt. David J. Thompson and Spc. Marc P. Decoteau were killed Jan. 29, 2010, after Nasir Ahmad Ahmadi opened fire inside Camp Nunez with an AK-47 assault rifle. The camp was in Wardak province.

A third soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Russell, was injured in the attack.

Ahmadi had worked as an interpreter at the base for Special Forces soldiers.

According to the complaint, Ahmadi opened fire on soldiers in the base after being told he would be reassigned to another base.

Russell and the estates of Decoteau and Thompson filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against Mission Essential Personnel LLC. The complaint alleges that Mission Essential Personnel “failed to properly vet, prepare, place and manage (Ahmadi).”

In response to the lawsuit, Mission Essential Personnel released a statement calling the incident that led to Thompson’s and Decoteau’s deaths “shocking and tragic” and offered the families their deepest condolences.

Please read the entire article here

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Interpreters, Legal Jurisdictions, Mission Essential Personnel, Private Military Contractors | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appeals court asked to toss suits in convoy deaths

Associate Press at The Houston Chronicle  July 7, 2011

NEW ORLEANS — A long-running suit over insurgent ambushes that killed civilian truck drivers in Iraq is back in a federal appeals court.

Halliburton and former subsidiary KBR Inc. are accused of knowingly sending supply convoys into a dangerous area where six KBR drivers were killed and several others wounded in April 2004.

A federal judge ruled in March 2005 that most the suits can go to trial, though he said it’s unclear whether the defense contractors sent convoys knowingly into harm’s way.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Halliburton, Iraq, KBR, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , , | Leave a comment

Judge dismisses parts of Blackwater lawsuit

Associated Press at AJC  May 20, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge has tossed out parts of a lawsuit filed by two former employees against the security company formerly known as Blackwater

But the judge decided at a hearing Friday in Virginia to allow other key claims to go to trial next month.

Brad and Melan (Meh-LAWN’) Davis sued in 2008 under a whistleblower law. They allege Blackwater used excessive force and submitted fraudulent bills for its work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater, now known as Xe (ZEE) Services, denies the allegations.

Please read the entire article here

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Private Security Contractor | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Blackwater firm seeks to stop lawsuit

The Charlotte Observer

The government contractor formerly known as Blackwater asked a federal judge Friday to reconsider his ruling that allows a lawsuit to proceed in the 2007 shootings of Iraqi civilians.

Federal judge Terrence Boyle issued an opinion earlier this week remanding a suit against the N.C.-based company to state court.

The ruling kept alive the last active lawsuit connected to the Sept. 16, 2007, Nisoor Square shooting in Baghdad

Please read the entire article here

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues | , , , | Leave a comment