Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for July, 2009

Wounded Back Home

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 30, 2009

Editors note: There have been more contractors than soldiers in the war zones for a long time now.  These TBI and PTSD issues are just being denied when it comes to the contractor, they are not going away.

In the first of a three-part series, our workers’ comp columnist Peter Rousmaniere explores the health, wellness and compensation burdens of America’s returning military veterans.

By PETER ROUSMANIERE, the Risk & Insurance® workers’ compensation columnist

Late in the evening of Nov. 14, 2004, on the outskirts of Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. base in Balad, Iraq, 40 miles north of Baghdad, three U.S. Army National Guard soldiers were injured by the devastatingly effective roadside bombs, also known as IEDs, used by insurgents against the U.S. military.

One of those soldiers, Sgt. Stephen Kinney, 52, of the New Hampshire 172nd Mountain Infantry Regiment, was struck by the shock of the bomb, which exploded six feet from the passenger side of his Humvee.

Kinney didn’t know that he had just become one of hundreds of U.S. returning veterans whose neurological impairment threatens to overwhelm employers and military medical personnel.  Read full story here

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Report Finds Advantages in Gov’t Takeover of Care for Injured Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 29, 2009

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – July 28, 2009 12:04 pm EDTcrs_report_graphic_20090728

The Congressional Research Service has found that the Defense Department was paying far higher premiums to insure civilians working in war zones than either the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The insurance is required by the Defense Base Act [1] and provides medical care and disability benefits for those injured while working under U.S. contracts overseas. Pentagon contractors negotiate rates individually with insurance firms, while the other agencies use a bidding process to set a blanket rate.

The report [2] (PDF), obtained by ProPublica, found that it was nearly impossible to determine why premiums were set so high for the Pentagon. The agreements between the carriers and individual contractors are private, even though taxpayers pay the premiums.

And while the Labor Department oversees the system, it has no power to investigate rates. In the past, both the Government Accountability Agency [3] (PDF) and the Army Audit Agency [4] (PDF) have questioned whether insurance carriers such as AIG charged the government too much for the policies. It is “difficult to assess what factors are currently used to set current DBA premiums,” the analysis said. AIG says its rates are fair and notes that they have declined over time.

The report acknowledged that it might be difficult to find a single insurance carrier to cover all the contractors for the Pentagon, which employs far more civilian workers than any other agency. It raised the possibility that the government might save money by simply taking over the system.

The Defense Base Act already requires the government to reimburse insurance carriers for costs incurred when civilian contract workers are injured in combat. By taking the system over, the government would cut out the middleman, the report said. “There are several potential advantages to having the federal government self insure,” the report said. The Congressional Research Service produces non-partisan analyses for Congress on policy matters.

One of the possible advantages is quicker payment of claims. The report pointed to a congressional hearing [5] in June prompted by investigations [6] by ProPublica, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News finding that carriers routinely denied claims for injured workers. At the hearing, the Labor Department’s deputy secretary, Seth Harris, acknowledged “extensive and troublesome” flaws in the system. The current system, the CRS report found, “can cause delays for claimants, including claimants with clear (war injury) cases that will eventually be paid” by the federal government.

The Defense Department is expected to weigh in on suggestions for reforming the system later this summer.

Original Story Here

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DBA Big Dog Attorneys Jumping Ship

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 28, 2009

Jump ship

Laughlin Falbo Levy & Moresi

Michael Thomas, the firms Big Dog DBA Attorney since Levy sort of retired,has left the firm to join another, or to start his own firm, depends on who you ask.

This is quick on the heels of the departure of another of the firms DBA Attorney’s  Michael Quinn.

Their departures follow the close scrutiny of the handling of DBA claims by CNA, who as of recently no longer employs LFLM to do their dirty work.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

DoDIG blames system failure in death of Ryan Maseth

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2009

By KIMBERLY HEFLING (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s Inspector General has determined that military leaders and a military contractor failed to protect a Green Beret who was electrocuted while showering in his barracks in Iraq.The 2008 death of 24-year-old Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth has triggered investigations into the other electrocution deaths of U.S. troops and the review by the Defense Department’s IG.The inspector general says that “multiple systems and organizations” failed and exposed Maseth to “unacceptable risk.” That’s according to a summary of the IG’s findings obtained by The Associated Press.

It specifically spells out that KBR Inc. installed improperly grounded equipment that faulted and led to Maseth’s death. Full Story Here

More on Ryan Maseth and electrocutions Ms Sparky

Posted in KBR | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

PTSD Suicide Crises Continue to Worsen

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2009

Veterans for Common Senseprevention

by Paul Sullivan

Veterans for Common Sense thanks VA and the New Jersey Star-Ledger for publishing new information about the very serious mental health crisis faced by our returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.  VCS has obtained even newer healthcare use and disability benefit statistics from VA using the Freedom of Information Act. The new VA data provides strong evidence that the mental health crisis among our returning Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans continues to worsen far beyond what the University of California, San Francisco researchers found in their study using older data.

• Veterans: 981,834 (out of nearly two million deployed)
• Veterans Treated at VA Hospitals and Clinics: 425,538 (43.3% of veterans)
• Veterans Diagnosed by VA with Mental Health Condition: 193,879 (45.6% of veterans treated by VA)
• Veterans Diagnosed by VA with PTSD: 114,908 (27.0% of veterans treated by VA)
• Veterans Filing Disability Claims Against VA: 381,782 (38.9% of veterans)
• Veterans with Approved PTSD Claims: 53,079 (46.2% of veterans diagnosed by VA with PTSD)

If President Obama and Secretary Gates fail to address this issue immediately, then the PTSD and suicide epidemics will worsen. read full story here

If the Department of Labor does not address the continued denial of medical and disability benefits for years on end there will be much more blood on their hands and on AIG, CNA, and their lawyers hands.

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Who wants to be CNA claims “specialist”?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 23, 2009

CNA Focus on Success

Here we have a job opportunity for someone, preferably with a professional designation,  though it apparently doesn’t matter what  that designation is.

This will be the person making life altering medical denials on behalf of CNA DBA Casualties.

The newbie ought to double check those sick and disability benefits, the prescription drug plan,  and the life insurance.

The flexible spending accounts are probably spot on as long its a War Hazards claim.

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PTSD and TBI, Lifelong impairment due to denials by AIG and CNA?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 23, 2009

PTSD and TBI can be quite debilitating, but the effects can be mitigated by early intervention and prompt effective treatment

Evidence-based practices to prevent PTSD include teaching skills to enhance cognitive fitness and psychological resilience that can reduce the detrimental impact of trauma. In terms of screening, evidence suggests that identifying PTSD and TBI early and quickly referring people to treatment can shorten their suffering and lessen the severity of their functional impairment. Several types of rehabilitative and cognitive therapies, counseling, and medications have shown promise in treating both injuries.

The injured contractor is being denied early intervention and prompt effective treatment of PTSD and TBI by AIG and CNA.

Why is not criminal when the insurance company denies timely diagnoses and treatment which causes the injured contractor life long impairments which could have been mitigated?

Lifelong brain damage that could have been helped is OK with who?

Thanks Marlo for this great link

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

TACTICOR CNA’s third party “medical”? provider in South Africa

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 22, 2009

For those contractors here in the states who have been forced to use Total Medical Services, or another third party medical provider, our South African mates would like you to meet

TACTICORDinosaur Eye 2

These are the spies that claims adjusters like Donna Sprags hire to take care of your prescriptions and medical supplies, nothing really important hey?  These companies will charge CNA for making your life more miserable than it needs to be, then CNA will turn around and bill the taxpayer.

From their website

“TACTICOR is a security and investigations company strategically located throughout the world to conduct efficient medical claims investigations/services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific,  Security Services in Iraq and Afghanistan; and law enforcement and military training to US Military Units and USCorporate security personnel.

With years of US Governmental service in the FBI, police departments and military,our staff of dedicated professionals has extensive expertise in intelligence and investigations, security management and operations, tactics and training, language and translation, counterterrorism investigations and operations, crisis managementand planning and emergency medical services.

TACTICOR employs a global network of US and foreign professionals in order to provideunique overseas security and overseas investigation services exclusively for US Corporate Clients.


Do they leave any doubt as to how little the well being of the injured contractor has to do with the US Corporate Clients Goals?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In Memory of Wade E Dill

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 15, 2009

We lost Wade to PTSD three years ago today July 16. 2006

Wade Dill Family photo 22

Wade was working for KBR,  AIG continues to deny benefits to his family

Thinking about you today and everyday

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Reminder to Contractors Regarding Iraqi Jurisdiction

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 15, 2009

This is a little OT but the State Department would like this information to reach as many contractors as possible.

Email us at for the original document as a PDF File for Printing and Posting.

Staff Notice US Embassy

USG Contractors and Contracting Officers Representatives under
COM Authority

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DBA Attorney Bloodsucking from a turnip

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 14, 2009

The wife of a  PTSD Suicide DBA  Casualty finally has a hearing coming up in a few months.

As with so many others  this claim has been drug out and this woman has been demoralized and drug through the mud.

She is on the verge of losing most everything else when her DBA Lawyer tells her she must pay him $10,000 or he will no longer be able to proceed with her case.   Is he planning on losing?  Can’t hold out that long like she has too?

We are told this is not illegal although the DBA requires all legal fees to be approved by the DoL.

Of course, we’re not lawyers and may have a “misguided interpretation” of the Defense Base Act.

Maybe this lawyer has a “misguided interpretation” of humanity.

Not to worry Widow, there are some very capable and caring  DBA Lawyers willing to win your case.

UPDATE:  Dennis Nalick took this case for the Widow without charging her a dime and with the realization that he may never see a dime.  He won this very important claim for her.  The Bloodsuckers entry for fees has been appealed.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Misjudgements | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

More Bonuses for AIG, Continued shaft to Injured Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 12, 2009

AIG prepares more bonuses for top executives

AIG Executives

American International Group Inc. is preparing to pay millions of dollars more in bonuses to several dozen of its top executives after an earlier round of payments set off a national furor.

The insurer has been pressing the government’s new “compensation czar” to bless the payments to shield itself from renewed public outrage.

AIG Using “Suicide” Strategy to Push Bonuses

No one mentions that AIG was the insurance company that insured the Twin Towers SPECIFICALLY against terrorism a month or so before 9/11 happened, and then paid off on the towers’ collapses TWICE based on a friendly lawsuit between friends Larry Silverstein (who owned the Towers) and his buddy Maurice Greenberg, (CEO/owner of AIG) ????

So it would seem that AIG is right in the middle of things, such as THREATS, ATTACKS, etc.—and has been for some time.

Anybody at T.O. care to spend a bit of time connecting THOSE dots?????

A.I.G. Using “Suicide Strategy” to Push Bonuses

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

A Civilians Battle

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 12, 2009

Jeff  Haysom injured war zone contractor’s story in the Yakima Herald today.

We’ve highlighted these remarks by John Bennett of Roger Levy’s firm.

“He does have some residual wage earning capacity but has chosen not to take advantage of that,” John Bennett, a San Francisco-based lawyer, said at the hearing.

Civilian contractors, Bennett suggested, knowingly risk their lives for the big bucks in Iraq.

This is not a LHWCA or DBA issue Mr. Bennett it is simply your opinion and it does not let AIG off the hook.

We’ll all be hoping for a fair ruling on your claim Jeff.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

CNA Claims Adjuster Looking for New Job

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 12, 2009

You can read here about her experience  making peoples lives a living hell.

Donna Sprags
Casualty Consultant
Preferred Location: Chicago, IL (within 25 miles)
Donna Sprags’s Dream Job Delivers…

• 401k matching • advancement opportunities • career change • c-level position • collaborative environment • corner office • eco-friendly company • flexible schedule • free Starbucks coffee • higher salary • international travel • leadership I respect and admire • management/leadership opportunities • mentorship program • more recognition • onsite/paid childcare • paid gym membership • performance bonuses • sense of accomplishment • shorter commute • stock options • training • tuition reimbursement • unstructured environment • work/life balance •
Donna Sprags’s Experience Map

The Experience Map is a visual representation of my skills and strengths. Mouse over the to view a question I answered while defining my work background. Click on any skill name in the map to see details about my experience.
Donna’s experience includes:  Evaluate and settle claims,  Assess liability levels, complete required paperwork,  conduct investigations, Interpret medical Records, Interview/contact claimants, negotiate settlements, obtain back up information, review settled claims, supervise/train other adjusters, confer/work with legal counsel, communicate with brokers
Claims experience
CNA Global Insurance
Casualty Consultant
Jan 1996 – Present

Update October 2009

Donna Sprags apparently still works at CNA, still abusing injured contractors

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

DBA CNA Casualty Anniversary

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 7, 2009

Congratulations Merlin Clark

membership drive[1]Today has been six years since you were blown up in Iraq and your claim is still being denied by CNA with no end in sight.

dad in the hole[1]

Thanks to everyone who has played a part in dragging this claim out, stopping his payments,  denying his medical,  and Generally making his life much more difficult than necessary.

You’d think he’d given enough already.

!!!!!!!!!!!!! And as if six years weren’t long enough  CNA’s  “He who must not be named”  just asked for a continuance !!!!!!!!!!!!

and another one,  what the hell  !!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted in AIG and CNA, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Labor, Exclusive Remedy, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, PTSD and TBI, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

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