Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

A Brutal Interpretation

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 29, 2009





Appearances: Karl Bender, Esquire On behalf of Claimant

Roger A. Levy, Esquire On behalf of Employer/Carrier

Before: JANICE K. BULLARD Administrative Law Judge

A Brutal Interpretation

By Peter Rousmaniere

`The following are important excepts from a very good post that you should read completely at the link above.

Taha had the good fortune of speaking English. When a chance arose in May to translate for the occupying troops, he grabbed it.  And why not, when he could thereby earn $10 a day, over double his pay for driving a car? What difference did it make that American translators, working the same job, were earning $80,000, or 30 times his wages?Barely one month into his work for the Army, a bomb on July 22, 2003, tore off his legs. The Army medical corps stabilized him then flew him to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.


Now to the claim:

She (Janice Bullard) dove into the Longshore Act and surfaced with this phrase between her teeth: The “average annual earnings” used to calculate Taha’s income loss had to align with that of “other employees of the same or most similar class working in the same or most similar employment in the same or neighboring locality.” All the parties in the suit agreed that Taha’s work was identical to those of Americans earning vastly more than him. Notwithstanding that, the judge found that Taha’s “similar class” comprised Iraqi nationals, even though Taha never had the opportunity to work at the income level of American colleagues.

“Accordingly,” the judge wrote, “I find that the most reasonable measurement of claimant’s age-earning capacity at the time of his injury was his actual wages of $10 per day.” She affirmed AIG’s weekly payment of $46.15, even as AIG continued to pay Taha’s wife about $850 a week to care for him.


PETER ROUSMANIERE is an expert on the workers’ compensation industry.

6 Responses to “A Brutal Interpretation”

  1. i am the author of the “brutal interpretation” column on the Taha case. I am a consultant on workers comp, write about work injuries, and want to write more about DBA claimants. I want to learn what is good and not so good about DBA. I am not an attorney (plain old MBA) and am not skilled at legal research. (For instance i’d love to get hold of the Taha files but do not know how. Atty Bender did not return my call.) My article audience is usually the 60,000 corporate and insurance readers of Risk & Insurance Magazine. I would appreciate advice, leads, and help from all who want DBA (and workers comp in general) to perform better.

    I am now about the publish a series of articles on national guard members who return from war.

    Peter Rousmaniere

  2. widow in california said

    I would like to point out the obvious here! PTSD, what does that stand for? POST Traumatic Stress Disorder!
    Okay, from what I was taught, POST, stands for AFTER.
    It doesn’t mean, “an hour after, a week after, it just means after”. I am no rocket scientist, but I do think I have good common sense. Further more I think the general public would agree with me when I say that WE are all individual. Stress effects everyone differently. Now I believe that when a person is in a situation where it is very obvious that they could loose their life at any moment, it is not the same kind of stress that a person experiences in rush hour traffic. It is not only stress, it is FEAR! FEAR for ones safety. Fear that they will never see their loved ones again. I could go on………………There are numerous fears that can effect an individual in a life threatening situation. Some of those fears can paralyze a person emotionally and physically. Now think of the families back home that deal with the thought that any day they could get a phone call that their loved one was “blown up”, “Shot by the enemy”, or “Suffered a life changing injury”. When that loved one is sent home, they will never again be the person that first stepped on that plane and left for Iraq. A stranger comes home and the family is left to wonder “Why?”. Contractors don’t receive the training that the Military does to be able to understand what they are about to experience. Even with the extra education and train that the military receives, look at all the mental injuries these soldiers suffer. Now, my common sense tells me that since the contractors work right in the midst of conflict with the military, wouldn’t they suffer the same, if not more? The smoke that is being blown into everyones face is just that, smoke. Common sense will break through that smoke and expose these charlatans for who they really are. Do we want our future generation to look back and wonder why all the ignorance?

  3. Pers Anon said

    I have seen this ALJ in a hearing and read many of her very disturbing rulings. She should not be working for DOL and certainly not under Hilda Solis, who is trying to restore sanity to the DOL. Bullard is simply incompetant and bitter, and has a failing memory – perhaps well hardened arteries. She suffered some sort of trauma years ago which left her with a severe neck. injury. The bottom line is that she is a head case and never, never, never, never rules for the employee side and everyone at DOL knows it. As shocking as it sounds, I find it remarkable that she even awarded the tiny award here and not zero. Perhaps she was actually feeling sorry for someone with their legs blown off, or perhaps she believes that she needs to clean up her sadistic act under the Obama administration. If you ever get a case in front of her, settle for whatever you can because the appeal process, which will overturn her bogus legal conclusions, takes a very long time and is quite expensive.

  4. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this judge with us.
    We had high hopes for Hilda Solis but she prefers to pretend, at least publicly, that the DBA has no problems.
    She refuses to meet or talk with us or the media though we have repeatedly asked her to do so.
    Until she implements some CHANGE in the DoL we’ll continue to see injustices of this nature.
    And they are very difficult to overturn.

  5. widow in california said

    Does it make anyone wonder “Who’s” pulling Hilda Solis and Judge Bullard’s strings? They are nothing but puppets, doing exactly what they are told like mindless drones. Just like all politicians who promise change and that they will fight for the people, Hilda Solis is no different. Once in office everything changes, they forget about the little people. Now they have their own power and they don’t need our help getting there. I wonder? Did she ever intend to follow through with the promises she made? Or is she just another politician that spreads false hope?

  6. Deep Research said

    I decided to run BI on this judge and learned that she sued over the test she took to become an administrative law judge. Apparently, things were not going to well for her as a NASA attorney filing claims against suppliers to the space agency who could not meet their deliveries. In a nutshell, she simply is not very bright, gets the law wrong all the time, and has a bad attitude towards just about everybody including co-workers where ever she works. They should fire her but probably will not because she will sue and make it expensive and difficult to get rid of her. Read this 200 case before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for more information:

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