Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

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

War is Brain Damaging

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and the Department of Labor are as negligent as the Department of Defense when it comes denying the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and most negligently when a contractor suffers from both.

“a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop”

The New York Times Sunday Review

These vets suffer from a particular kind of brain damage that results from repeated exposure to the concussive force of improvised explosive devices — I.E.D.’s — a regular event for troops traveling the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s Russian roulette,” one vet told me, “We had one guy in our company who got hit nine times before the 10th one waxed him.” An I.E.D. explosion can mean death or at least a lost arm or leg, but you don’t have to take a direct hit to feel its effects. A veteran who’d been in 26 blasts explained, “It feels like you’re whacked in the head with a shovel. When you come to, you don’t know whether you’re dead or alive.”

The news that Robert Bales, an Army staff sergeant accused of having killed 16 Afghan civilians last week, had suffered a traumatic brain injury unleashed a flurry of e-mails among those of us who have been trying to beat the drums about this widespread — and often undiagnosed — war injury. New facts about Staff Sgt. Bales are coming out daily. After we heard about the brain injury that resulted when his vehicle rolled over in an I.E.D. blast, we were told that he had lost part of his foot in a separate incident. Then we learned that the day before his rampage, he’d been standing by a buddy when that man’s leg was blown off. There are also reports of alcohol use.

People with more appropriate professional skills than mine will have to parse these facts, but from what I have learned in my work as a storyteller, this tragedy may be related to something I heard about in my interviews: a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop. If alcohol was indeed part of the picture, it could have further undermined his compromised frontal lobe function

Please see the original and read more here

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury | , , , , , , , , | 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

14 Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Found Dead

Courthouse News December 13, 2011

HOUSTON (CN) – A dog-training company claims an animal transport service killed 14 of its bomb-sniffing dogs who “were en route to Afghanistan to support U.S. military operations,” by leaving them overnight in an unventilated, sealed truck.
American K-9 Detection Services sued Indian Creek Enterprises dba Animal Port Houston and its successor company, Live Animal Transportation Services dba Animal Port Houston, in Harris County Court.
American K-9 says its dogs’ deaths led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate Animal Port Houston “for alleged violation of USDA regulations for the safe transport of animals.”
The Lake Mary, Florida-based American K-9, called AMK9 in the complaint, says it “leases, on fixed-term bases canine and handler teams trained in narcotics and explosives detection to government agencies, non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies, and private entities domestically and worldwide.”
AMK9 says its “canine/handler teams” have been working with U.S., Canadian and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2005 providing checkpoint security, vehicle sweeps and roving patrols.
“Searches by AMK9 canine teams have led to numerous discoveries of explosives, weapons caches, and narcotics resulting in the arrest of criminals and terrorists in the Middle East,” American K-9 says.
Under a contract with the U.S. government, AMK9 began getting canine/handler teams ready for deployment to Afghanistan in late 2010.
AMK9’s Texas agent, Hill Country Dog Center, contracted with Animal Port Houston to get the dogs on a Royal Dutch Airlines cargo flight scheduled to depart Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Dec. 20, 2010, according to the complaint.
AMK9 says its dogs were taken to Royal Dutch Airlines receiving terminal at the airport, put in transport kennels and placed on pallets, and dropped off with Animal Port Houston’s manager Christopher Hay.
While at the airport, Hill Country Dog Center employee Jason Dill got a call from his employer asking that he bring one of the dogs back with him, which Dill did, according to the complaint.
“However, before he departed, Dill confirmed that each of the fourteen canines that remained – Tiny, Rex, Rocky, Crock, Dork, Harrie, Stress, Sigo, Rex, Jago, Kimbo, Kilo, Albert and Bak (collectively, the ‘canines’) – were alive and in good health,” AMK9 says.
AMK9 says Hays called Hill Country’s employee later that afternoon and said “through a series of events allegedly beyond his control, the canines had been unable to catch the originally scheduled KLM flight and were in his custody.”
“Hay also stated that the canines would not be boarded on another flight departing the same day, but that he would try to have the canines re-manifested on the first KLM flight the next day,” AMK9 says.
Hay offered to board the dogs overnight and said he did not have enough kennel space for all the dogs “but that he would board as many of the canines as possible in APH’s kennels while the remaining canines would be left in their transport kennels inside of APH’s warehouse,” according to the complaint.
AMK9 says Hay later spoke with Hill Country Dog Center’s owner Mike Clemenson, and assured him that Animal Port Houston would get the dogs on the scheduled flight.
“At the end of the call, Clemenson agreed to send drivers to APH early the next morning who would pick up the canines in the event that that the canines could not be boarded on the next departing flight,” AMK9 says.
AMK9 says early the next morning Hill Country’s employees arrived at APH’s office and found the dogs unattended in the back of a refrigerated box truck, rather than inside APH’s kennels and warehouses, where Hay said they would be.
Hill Country’s employee got into the truck and “immediately was struck by the rancid odor,” AMK9 says.
“He observed that there was blood on the floor of the truck and in several of the crates, and he noted that transport kennels for two of the canines (Stress and Kimbo) had been damaged – in an apparent attempt by the canines to escape their situation. Nevertheless, all fourteen canines were dead,” according to the complaint. (Parentheses in original.)
AMK9 says Hay told Hill Country’s he had found the dogs dead earlier that morning.
“Hay acknowledged that he had left the canines in the truck overnight and, in statements made to AMK9 representatives following the incident, stated that the canines were alive and well at the time he observed them the previous evening.
“Hay also stated (in subsequent conversations with AMK9) that when he discovered the canines, he noticed the truck’s climate control unit (which he had allegedly set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit the night before) was not blowing cool air.
“Further, Hay stated that the truck’s cooling unit temperature gauge showed a reading of 77 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to the complaint. (Parentheses in original.)
AMK9 says in subsequent conversations it had with Hay and with APH’s president, it learned that “it had been a common practice at APH to leave animals overnight in its transport.”
AMK9 says that in the wake of its dogs’ deaths APH was taken over by a new company called Live Animal Transportation Services, and APH’s website was revised to reflect the ownership change.
AMK9 says that during a recent conversation between Hay, and Hill Country’s owner Mike Clemenson, “Hay advised Clemenson that he (presumably via LATS) had acquired all of APH’s stock and is now in charge of ‘running’ APH’s former business.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Hay is not a party to the lawsuit.
AMK9 seeks damages for breach of contract/bailment, negligence, negligence per se, deceptive trade practices and negligent misrepresentation.
It is represented by Christopher Popov with Vinson & Elkins in Houston

Please see the original at Courthouse News

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ronco Consulting sued for negligence by United Nations Mine Action Employee

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

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Africa, ArmorGroup, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Landmines, Legal Jurisdictions, Ronco, Safety and Security Issues, State Department, Sudan, United Nations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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