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Archive for February, 2011

ArmorGroup Security Guard Danny Fitzsimons escapes Death Penalty on PTSD diagnoses

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 28, 2011

Danny Fitzsimons avoids death penalty and lawyers press for reduced sentence to be served in UK

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s director, said: “If G4S had done the proper checks and risk assessments when Danny applied to work with them, they would have quickly seen that he was suffering from serious PTSD, a consequence of loyally serving his country.

People with PTSD can have “heightened levels of physiological arousal,” such as elevated heart rates even though they are not in real danger, Baldwin said.

“Because they feel unsafe, they’re more likely to be triggered into a defense state that might get them out of a traumatic experience that isn’t really happening,” he said.

“During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger,” Baldwin said. “You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.” from Learning to Live Again

The Guardian UK Monday February 28, 2011  12:50 GMT

Danny Fitzsimons leaves the Iraqi court where he received a 20-year jail sentence for murder. Immunity for foreign contractors was lifted in 2009. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP

A British former soldier has been jailed for 20 years by the supreme court of Iraq for the murder of two fellow security contractors, becoming the first westerner to be convicted in the country since the 2003 invasion.

The family of 31-year-old Danny Fitzsimons expressed relief that he had escaped the death penalty and asked Iraqi authorities and the UK government to ensure his safety in prison. Defence lawyers indicated they would try to get the term reduced.

Before his conviction and sentencing in a hearing lasting less than 30 minutes, there had been talks over whether he could be transferred to a British prison. Fitzsimons’s family and campaigners fear for his safety if he is moved outside Baghdad’s Green Zone to the city’s Rusafa prison.

Fitzsimons, from Middleton, Manchester, was accused of shooting fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare in Baghdad, colleagues with the UK security firm ArmorGroup, part of G4S, after an argument in the Green Zone in August 2009. He was also accused of wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing. The incident happened within 36 hours of his arrival in the city. He had worked in the country before.

Fitzsimons admitted shooting the men but claimed it was in self-defence. The colleagues had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, he said. Fitzsimons claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Please read the entire story here

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Invisible Wounds can be fatal

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 26, 2011

Courier Mail Sunday Mail Australia

AUSTRALIAN families, friends and communities have buried 23 soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2002.

Each one was hailed for their heroism, remembered for their larrikinism and commended for their dedication to their mates and their mission.

But there is an even sadder and often silent statistic that is forgotten – the number of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who have ended their lives for reasons that don’t command a full military funeral or public acknowledgement by politicians.

New Defence figures show that 31 enlisted Defence personnel have, or are believed to have, committed suicide since 2005.

Of those, 10 were in Queensland  the highest among the states, with seven suspected suicide cases in NSW and six in the ACT.

The suspected suicide deaths of two other Queensland soldiers earlier this year are also being investigated by the coroner but are not included in the figures at this stage.


Young Diggers president John Jarratt believes the number of confirmed suicides is just the tip of the iceberg with many more going unaccounted for once they have been discharged from the defence forces.

“Look at Vietnam. The number killed was far outweighed by the number who took their own life in the years after their service,” Mr Jarratt said.

“We call it the invisible wounds of war, people dying not in combat but as a result of combat, years later.”

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

CRS Report: Defense Department’s Use of Private Security Contractors in Afghanistan & Iraq

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 25, 2011

February 21, 2011

Background Analysis and Options for Congress

by Moshe Schwartz  Specialist in Defense Aquisition

See this report at ProPublica

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Defense, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama presides over a private contractor boom

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 25, 2011

The use of armed private contractors has soared in Afghanistan since President Obama took office, a report finds

War Room Salon February 25, 2011

The number of private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan has more than tripled to about 19,000 since June 2009, according to a new congressional study.

The study found a steady increase in private security contractors — most of whom are Afghans — since the DOD started tracking the data in September 2007.

That trend accelerated markedly once President Obama took office, and the number of security contractors has increased at a faster rate even than the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Check out this chart from the study:

And here are the top-line numbers:

 

From December 2008 to December 2010, the number of U.S. troops and DOD contractor personnel in Afghanistan increased. However, the number of security contractors increased at a much faster rate (413%) than total contractors (22%) or troop levels (200%). As of December 2010, security contractor personnel made up 22% of all DOD contractors and was equal to 20% of the size of total U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.

The study also found that contractors are a whopping 2.75 times more likely to be killed in Afghanistan than uniformed troops. It’s also worth noting that, as I’ve previously reported, contractor deaths are not closely tracked and publicly disclosed in the same way that troop deaths are.

Please see the original at Salon

  • Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 24, 2011

Feb 18, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA – Just one week after oral arguments were presented, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued its decision in California United Terminals vs. Towne. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition for the case to be reviewed, thus holding employers responsible for the injured party’s (the Claimant’s) litigation costs associated with successful prosecution of legitimate workers compensation claims. The 9th Circuit Court’s decision helps to preserve the purpose and integrity of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act – to provide fair and timely compensation to injured workers.

“We are pleased that the 9th Circuit is sending a clear message to employers and their insurance carriers – to stop denying legitimate claims by prolonging and increasing the cost of litigation,” said Charles D. Naylor of the Law Offices of Charles D. Naylor (http://www.NaylorLaw.com), a Los Angeles-based law firm specializing in maritime and admiralty law.

“Had the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of California United Terminals, it would have set legal precedent allowing employers to continue their practice of denying medical treatment and delaying payment of legitimate compensation claims.

It would have forced the injured worker to absorb the cost of the employer’s legal shenanigans, making the claims process too risky for injured workers and thus completely ineffective.”

California United Terminals is now likely to ask the United States Supreme Court to hear the case, which they must do within 90 days.

In 2002, Sandra Towne, a 59 year Marine Clerk, was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, an injury that is most commonly the result of repetitive trauma over time. After conservative, non-surgical care failed, she needed surgery. Towne filed a claim to receive benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) which provides benefits including medical care compensation for temporary disability at 2/3 of average wages while off work and recovering. When her claim was denied, she retained Charles D. Naylor.

“The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is meant to provide very basic level of compensation and it’s supposed to be made available to those that are injured without the need for an attorney or any litigation,” said Charles D. Naylor, who has represented Ms. Towne since 2002 and has handled hundreds of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act claims throughout his 35-year career.

While seeking conservative treatment, Towne continued to work on the waterfront. Like most longshore workers and marine clerks on the West Coast, Towne received work assignments at the union dispatch hall and often worked for a different employer from day to day.

The law applying the LHWCA is very clear on the following:

• The last employer where a worker is exposed to repetitive trauma is responsible to provide compensation benefits to a worker injured by repetitive trauma.
• If the injured worker has to retain an attorney to collect benefits, and is ultimately successful, the employer is responsible for the Claimant’s attorney’s fees.

Two and a half years after she was diagnosed, Towne’s then employer, California United Terminals, Inc., agreed to pay for the surgery she needed after being joined in the litigation by the judge. In trial court, and before the Benefits Review Board, California United Terminals was ordered to pay all of Claimant’s attorney’s fees.

California United Terminals (CUT) took the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On February 8, 2011, CUT argued that they are only responsible for fees during a 13 day period, at most, out of the eight and one half years of litigation, and that the remainder should come out of Towne’s pocket.

The Law Offices of Charles D. Naylor, along with Joshua Gillelan II, Esq. of the Longshore Claimants’ National Law Center, represented Ms. Towne.

An audio transcript of the oral arguments and a copy of the Court’s decision (Memorandum) can be found on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals website. See the original press release by Charles D Naylor here

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, DBA Attorneys Fees, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tax and DBA Insurance Fraud, Misrepresenting Employee’s as Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 24, 2011

Some Contract Companies avoid paying Medicare and Social Security Taxes on their employees by classifying them as independent contractors or consultants.  The IRS considers this to be Fraud.

These same companies claim these same independent contractors/consultants to be employee’s for the purposes of acquiring mandated Defense Base Act Worker’s Compensation Insurance.  Even going so far as to have workers sign and back date employee contracts after they have been injured so they will be covered.

See more on Misclassification of Employee’s as Contractors at Overseas Contractors Tax Information where you will also find a link to the IRS Form SS-8

Following is a recent SS-8 Determination which confirms the Misclassification and opens up the company to an investigation of Tax and Insurance Fraud and US Labor Law Violations.

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, KBR, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

ProPublica Honored With Two George Polk Awards

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 22, 2011

by Minhee Cho at ProPublica

ProPublica is pleased to announce that it has won two George Polk Awards this year, in collaboration with our partners NPR and Frontline, for the series “Brain Wars” and “Law & Disorder.”

A collaborative project by ProPublica’s T. Christian Miller and NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling and Susanne Reber, “Brain Wars ” found that the U.S. military was failing to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers. It has been selected for the George Polk Award for Radio Reporting.

ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson along with our partners Raney Aronson and Tom Jennings at Frontline and Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy at The Times-Picayune won the George Polk Award for Television Reporting for “Law & Disorder ,” which took an in-depth look at the controversial and often brutal actions taken by the New Orleans Police Department in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The George Polk Awards are conferred every year to honor special achievement in journalism, particularly investigative and enterprise reporting. ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten was among the winners last year for his reporting on the dangers of drilling for natural gas.

Congratulations to all of the winners Please see the original here

Posted in PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Raymond Allen Davis, CIA Agent, Detained in Pakistan, Former Blackwater Security Contractor

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 21, 2011

US reveals that CIA agent Raymond Davis worked for private security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater

For background on this ongoing diplomatic standoff and US Coverup read here

The Guardian UK

Pakistani Police escort Raymond Davis

US officials have provided fresh details about at the centre of a diplomatic stand-off in Pakistan, including confirmation that he had worked for the private security contractor Xe, formerly known as Blackwater. They also disclosed for the first time that he had been providing security for a CIA team tracking militants.

Davis was attached to the CIA’s Global Response Staff, whose duties include protecting case officers when they meet with sources. He was familiarising himself with a sensitive area of Lahore on the day he shot dead two Pakistanis.

The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press and other media outlets reported for the first time that Davis is a CIA employee. They said they had been aware of his status but kept it under wraps at the request of US officials who said they feared for his safety if involvement with the spy agency was to come out. The officials claimed that he is at risk in the prison in Lahore. The officials released them from their obligation after the Guardian on Sunday reported that Davis was a CIA agent.

Davis shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore last month who he says he been trying to rob him. A third Pakistani man was killed by a car driven by Americans apparently on their way to rescue Davis.

Confirmation that he worked for Xe could prove even more problematic than working for the CIA, given the extent of hatred towards Blackwater, whose staff have gained a reputation in Pakistan as trigger-happy. For Pakistanis the word “Blackwater” has become a byword for covert American operations targeting the country’s nuclear capability. Newspaper reports have been filled with lurid reports of lawless operatives roaming the country

Read the entire article here

Posted in Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Misjudgements, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

ArmorGroup Security Contractor Danny Fitzsimons Must Wait To Hear Death Sentence Verdict

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 20, 2011

Iraqi judges presiding over the trial of a British security contractor accused of murdering two colleagues have adjourned proceedings once again

According to Fitzsimons’ legal team, the request for more reports is a sign the judges are taking the issue of PTSD seriously.

Ursula Errington, Sky News correspondent

The adjournment in the trial of Danny Fitzsimons was called so judges could consider more evidence relating to the former paratrooper’s psychological state.

Mr Fitzsimons admits shooting former Royal Marine Paul McGuigan and Australian ex-airman Darren Hoare in August 2009 after the three private security contractors had been on a whisky-drinking binge.

But he says he did only so in self-defence after the two men attacked him.

He also maintains he suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility, but not guilty to murder.

Judges will reconvene on February 28 after ordering further reports on how traumatic experiences may have effected him.

According to Fitzsimons’ legal team, the request for more reports is a sign the judges are taking the issue of PTSD seriously.

The 30-year-old, from Rochdale, is the first Westerner to be tried in Iraq since immunity for foreign security workers was lifted in 2009.

If convicted of murder he could face the death penalty.

His legal team are likely to appeal to Iraqi authorities to allow him to serve any prison sentence back in the UK.

Fitzsimons believes “(I’m) a dead man” if he is moved from his cell inside the Green Zone to Baghdad’s Russaffa prison.

As a former British soldier turned private security contractor, he thinks he may be a target for other inmates.

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Exclusive Remedy, G4S, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 19, 2011

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 ArmorGroup’s 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, known drug and alcohol problems, who was fired from two other security companies and was considered 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 Contract Companies.  Like Armorgroup did,  just under bid the contract so you can win it.   The solution then is to under staff, over work, refuse to provide the necessary equipment that was contracted  for, and put any warm body in place without vetting them to ensure that they are who and what they claim to be.

Darren Hoare

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.

Paul McGuigan

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”.

Posted in Armorgroup, Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ArmorGroup Still Guarding Kabul Embassy Despite Losing Contract

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2011

ArmorGroup caused an international scandal and lost its State Department contract. Why’s the company still protecting one of America’s most dangerous diplomatic outposts?

“We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

By Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones

More than a year has passed since the State Department decided to drop its contract with the security firm protecting the US embassy in Kabul, following an international scandal featuring drunken debauchery fit for a Van Wilder flick. But the company that introduced the world to vodka butt-shots is still on the job—and it doesn’t seem to have plans to stand down anytime soon. Long after the expiration of its initial contract, in fact, ArmorGroup North America is currently hiring more guards to protect the Kabul embassy.

The firm sparked controversy in September 2009, when a Washington-based watchdog group sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighting a list of violations by the company, from a chronic guard shortage to the hiring of personnel who couldn’t speak English and would be unable to communicate with their colleagues in an emergency. But the most shocking charges concerned what the Project on Government Oversight called a “Lord of the Flies environment”—hazing and wild partying depicted in a series of graphic photographs showing members of the Kabul embassy security force drunk, half-naked, and engaged in an array of NSFW behavior.

Embassygate tainted not just ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) and its parent company, the security conglomerate G4S, but the State Department, too, leading to investigations by Congress and State’s inspector general. In the years leading up to the scandal, it turned out, the State Department had repeatedly found fault with the company’s performance—at one point stating in an internal memo that “the security of the US Embassy in Kabul is in jeopardy” as a result—but failed to fire AGNA. A former high-level AGNA employee also came forward to say that he’d warned the State Department about “lewd, aberrant, and sexually deviant behavior” by the company’s recruits more than two years before this conduct made global headlines. Again, no action was taken.

In December 2009, deeply embarrassed by the controversy, the State Department said it planned to axe AGNA once its contract came up for renewal that summer. But when that time came, the agency ended up extending the firm’s contract for another six months while it brought in another security provider. “Because the current KESF [Kabul Embassy Security Force] contract can only be extended through December 30th, we must have the company on the ground and operating by then,” a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security told Mother Jones last summer.

In late September, the agency selected the Tennessee-based firm EOD Technology to take over the contract. But December 30 came and went with no changing of the guards. And AGNA apparently believed it was staying put, at least for a while. In mid-January, the company posted a job ad on Careerbuilder noting that it was “recruiting Protective Security Specialists to provide security to the U.S. Embassy in, Kabul, Afghanistan.”

A spokeswoman for AGNA, Susan Pitcher, confirmed that the firm is still protecting the embassy, but declined to comment further, citing a State Department policy about contractors speaking to reporters. EODT also declined to comment. But a Diplomatic Security spokesman told Mother Jones that the transition has been delayed. Now, he said, the handover won’t happen until May. “In order to provide EODT with adequate time to make an orderly transition, it has been given 120 days from the end of AGNA’s contract,” the spokesman said.

Sources familiar with the security force contract questioned whether the delay has anything to do with the transition process; one suggested that the State Department may merely be stalling after unwittingly selecting a replacement for AGNA that also has a controversial background.

In October, a week after the agency chose EODT for the job, the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has conducted a years-long investigation into private security firms in Afghanistan, released a report leveling serious allegations at both EODT and AGNA. It accused the companies of relying on local warlords to staff their guard forces—strongmen with unclear allegiances and possible Taliban ties. In one case, according to the report, EODT hired a group of Afghans who had recently been fired by ArmorGroup for “providing sensitive security information to…a Taliban-affiliated warlord.” (In response, EODT claimed that “all leaders which EODT utilized were made known to the US military at every stage of mobilization.” AGNA countered that it only relied on Afghans who had been recommended by special operations troops.)

Making matters worse for EODT, federal agents raided its offices in early December in connection with an investigation into potential export violations involving the transit of weapons or other military-grade materials. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigation and has denied any wrongdoing. “We obviously would not have been selected for some of the sensitive and important projects we handle for our country around the world had we not been thoroughly investigated before and found to be trustworthy,” the firm said in a statement. A State Department official said the agency was unaware the company was the subject of a federal investigation until stories about the raid appeared in the press, and insisted the probe “has not held up the transition.”

For Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, the fact that the State Department handed the embassy job to a company saddled with its own serious baggage illustrates the flawed logic of placing contractors in roles that she believes should be performed by US government personnel. “If there’s a better argument for making this mission an inherently governmental function, this situation is it,” she says. “We’ve got one discredited company to be replaced by another discredited company.”

Posted in Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, State Department | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Longshore and Defense Base Act Reasonable Hourly Rate Determination

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 17, 2011

Longshore Act: Reasonable Hourly Rate Determination – Overview of Recent Decisions

Posted by the BRB Staff at Lexis Nexis

By Yelena Zaslavskaya
Senior Attorney for Longshore, Office of Administrative Law Judges
U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C.

A. The Governing Law

Section 28 of the Longshore Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 928, provides for an award of a “reasonable attorney’s fee” to a prevailing claimant’s attorney payable by employer (Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C.S. § 901 et seq.).

See also 20 C.F.R. §§ 702.132, 802.203.

Section 702.132(a) provides that a fee application must indicate the normal billing rate for each person who performed services on behalf of the claimant. The regulations further provide that any attorney’s fee approved shall be reasonably commensurate with the necessary work done and shall take into account the quality of the representation, the complexity of the legal issues involved, and the amount of benefits awarded.[FN2] 20 C.F.R. § 702.132(a),

see also 20 C.F.R. § 802.203(e).[FN3] In addition, case law addressing what constitutes a reasonable fee under other federal fee-shifting statutes is also applicable to fee determinations under the LHWCA. See City of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 120 L. Ed. 2d 449, 112 S. Ct. 2638 (1992); see also Stanhope v. Elec. Boat Corp., 44 BRBS 107 (2010) (and cases cited therein). 

Continue reading this post with corresponding case law here

From the Longshore Manual

  1. Determination of Reasonable Legal Fee.
    1. In determining whether a fee is reasonable, a number of factors must be considered. A partial list of factors is provided in subparagraph 7b, below, but it is not all-inclusive. Although there may be a broad agreement on the factors to be considered in setting fees, in practice the standards of what is appropriate compensation for claimant’s counsel vary markedly from one State to another (The Law of Workmen’s Compensation, Arthur Larson). The variation is reflected not only in statutory limits but also in administrative and judicial decisions.
    2. The following factors should be considered in determining a reasonable legal fee (See 20 C.F.R. section 702.132):
      1. Usefulness and necessity of the representative’s services to the claimant.
      2. Nature and complexity of the claim.
      3. Actual necessary work performed (the itemization showing the dates on which services were performed, brief descriptions of services, time spent on each, and the amount of fees requested. Time spent in preparation of a fee application is a appropriate factor to be considered in the determination of a reasonable attorney fee). (See LHWCA Circular No 97-01).
      4. Amount of benefits involved.
      5. Customary local charges for similar services.
      6. Professional qualifications of the representative.
      7. When the fee is to be assessed against the claimant, the financial circumstances of the claimant are also to be taken into account.
      8. Enhancement for extraordinary delay in receiving payment. (See Anderson vs. Director 30 BRBS 67 (CRT) and LHWCA Circular No 97-01).
      9. Whether the fee is reasonable in relation to the results obtained. [(See Bullock v. Ingalls Shipbuilding 27 BRBS 90, July 16, 1993, for a decision of the two-prong test under Hensley vs. Eckerhart 461 U.S. 424 1983).]
    3. In considering the factors above, emphasis is given to the factor in subparagraph 7b(1), above. Before considering the other factors, the necessity or usefulness of the representative’s services should be considered. If the necessity for the service is questionable, the fee should be kept to a minimum. Many States prescribe, by statute or administrative regulation, the maximum dollar or percentage amount which can be charged. Others permit a sliding scale which allows certain percentages on various portions of the award.Since almost all States in one way or another regulate the amount of legal fees for claimants’ representatives, any person approving a legal fee under this act should be aware of the various States’ workers’ compensation laws governing attorney’s fees in that DO’s jurisdiction.
    4. If the requested fee is reduced, the DD must advise the attorney or representative in writing of the reduction, and state the reason(s) for the reduction. This may be stated in the compensation order approving the fee or in a letter accompanying the compensation order; however, any change must be justified. The recipient of a fee for representation of a claimant, if dissatisfied with the amount awarded, may appeal to the Benefits Review Board (BRB) for a review of the award.
    5. In the absence of collusion, when the parties in arm’s length settlement negotiation have reached an agreement on the amount of the fee which is the responsibility of the employer/carrier, the DD should approve the fee unless it is clearly excessive (Ballard v General Dynamics, 12 BRBS 966 (1980) and Watkins v Ingalls, 26 BRBS 179 (1993)).

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dr Lawrence Blumberg used by AIG

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 16, 2011

Dr Lawrence Blumberg or MCN Info Please

I am asking in this forum as well as the federal forum because MCN is from Oregon or Washington. MCN(Medical Consultants Network) set up a second opinion appointment for me. I live in the Tampa Bay area and they flew Dr Lawrence Blumberg in from Miami. He refused to look at the reports I brought, did not look at me, was rude and confrontational, rushed through an exam, my total time with him was 11 minutes. He looked at one film out of 7 or 8 and held it up to the ceiling light(there was no light box in the massage room). The door to the exam room which was at a massage business was open the entire time and his assistant stood in the doorway the entire time. (I was the only “patient” there, in fact the door was locked when I arrived) Neither the doctor or his assistant were in medical clothes. I have 3 cervical vertebrae that are fused, aherniated disc and numerous other problems in my neck documented on the mri, myelgram, cat scan and he found nothing wrong. Any help or info on Blumberg or MCN would be helpful. MCN just got a 13 million dollar contract to set second opinion appointments for the southest owcp. They also do northwest owcp, ny and wash dc.

This was crossposted from Workers Compensation Insurance

Have any of the injured contractor workers been sent to second opinions, in Florida or other states,to Dr Lawrence Blumberg? Are they being routed through the doctor broker MCN (Medical Consultants Network)? Blumberg has testified for aig before.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Defense Medical Examinations | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Who Pays Your Defense Base Act Attorneys Fees ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 15, 2011

Alert:  We have received a report that a DBA Attorney is taking part of a claimants compensation checks.  This is  very low tactic and we hope this attorney is soon exposed.

When a Defense Base Act Attorney or Law Firm advertises “no money upfront, or no fees upfront”, or that all fees must be approved, or that their fee is contingent, it means that they plan to have you pay their fees out whatever lost wages or medical you may be awarded.  Never ever hire one of these lawyers who would take  money from you when the insurance company is supposed to pay.  Ask them how this benefits them because it sure as hell does not benefit you !!

“The way the Defense Base Act is set up in terms of attorneys fees (no up front attorney fee is required, all lawyer fees must be approved and an attorney fee is contingent and will only be owed if we are able to collect funds for you”  Clever, how would you know they mean that YOU will be owing these fees

The Defense Base Act provides for your attorney fees to be paid for by the Insurance Company.

9th Circuit Court Upholds LHWCA/DBA Attorney’s fees

In disputed claims, the attorney fee frequently is assessed against the employer and is paid in addition to compensation

You would probably not be at this blog  nor would you need an attorney if your claim were not disputed.

Your DBA Attorney is required  to keep track of their hours and expenses (receipts) for the duration of the legal process and turn them in to the ALJ or DD for approval and subsequent payment by the DBA Insurance Company when they have in fact succeeded in securing an award in your favor.

It is not illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to charge Injured Contractors and Widows these fees.

The fees do have to be approved by an ALJ or DD and we do not know why an ALJ or DD would allow this.

But it might just be illegal for a Defense Base Act Attorney to have Injured Contractors and Widows sign on to pay as much 40%  without ever disclosing to them that they are not required to do so under the Act.

We’d love to hear what excuses these attorneys are using to bleed more money out of the Injured Contractors and Widows, many of them foreign and more susceptible to this treatment.

Please let us know in the comment section below if you have been asked to pay your attorneys legal  fees.

From the Longshore Manual

Fee When Carrier Declines to Pay Compensation. Under section 28(a), if an EC does not pay any compensation within thirty days after receiving written notification of a claim being filed, and the case is later settled at the informal level in favor of the claimant, the DD/CE must assess the fee for an attorney against the EC

Fee Where Voluntary Payment Made, But Controversy Arises Over Amount of Additional Compensation.

  1. If the EC voluntarily pays compensation without an award and a controversy develops over the amount of additional compensation (if any) to which the claimant may be entitled, the DD/CE shall, within ten days of knowledge of the controversy, set the case for an informal conference. Either at the conference or afterwards, the DD/CE is to recommend in writing the disposition of the matter. If the claimant has utilized the services of an attorney during this period to obtain additional compensation, any additional legal fee (based on efforts to obtain additional compensation) is to be assessed against the EC.

Continue reading here to learn why your informal conference is so important to you which we will soon post on.

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Racketeering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments »

Veterans of the first Gulf War can’t get treatment; Army admits medical records were destroyed

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 14, 2011

Veterans Today

St. Petersburg , Florida — Operation Desert Storm, which pushed Iraqi troops out of Kuwait but kept Saddam Hussein in power, took a huge toll on American servicemen and women.

159,705 veterans were injured or became ill, and 10,617 veterans have died of combat related injuries or illnesses since the initiation of the Gulf War during August 1990.

Since the second Gulf War began, there have been another 5,884 casualties. (Not including contractors, veteran contractors)

Most of the veterans we talked to for this story say they are aware when they sign their name on the dotted line, they might not come home or could be wounded. However, they say that is part of the job.  The Gulf War veterans were talked to also ask us not to identify them.

As one told us, it’s the government and he knows what the government is capable of doing and he doesn’t want his name out there.

One solider trying to get help from the Veterans Administration for combat-related injuries says he has been turned down, because his records are missing. He says he has all the medical records for the time he was in the states, but the records for everything that happened outside of the country are gone.

The VA has heard similar complaints before, but a letter from Department of the Army that has never been made public before says after Desert Storm ended, units were told to destroy their records since there was no room to ship the paperwork back to the states. The letter goes on to say it was in direct contradiction to existing Army Regulations.

Please read the entire post at Veteran Todays here

Posted in AWOL Medical Records | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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