Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Judge says Halliburton must stay in convoy death case

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 25, 2009

Houston Chronicle

A Houston judge ruled today that Halliburton must remain as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging it and its former subsidiary KBR knowingly sent civilian truck convoys into dangerous conditions the day six drivers were killed in 2004 in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller found that Halliburton should remain in the case because plaintiffs have “numerous evidentiary examples of Halliburton’s involvement in the allegations giving rise to this litigation.”

Miller is considering a series of motions raised by the defendants to end three cases brought by injured plaintiffs and family members of the dead. The plaintiffs allege that KBR and its former parent, Halliburton, put profit above life in April 2004 when they deployed a convoy knowing about the heightened danger.

Miller previously dismissed the case, ruling that a civilian court could not second-guess military decisions. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Miller saying it may be possible to resolve the lawsuits without making a “constitutionally impermissible review of wartime decision-making.”

Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007. Last January it stated that it was paying off its final bill for KBR when it agreed to pay about $560 million to settle a Foreign Corrupt Practice Act case involving improper payments to Nigerian officials.

Halliburton has maintained the truck convoy lawsuits are based on KBR activity in Iraq, and Halliburton will be found to have no responsibility, legal or otherwise.

Miller did toss other corporate entities out of the lawsuit. KBR Inc. stays in the case. But KBR Holdings LLC and KBR International Inc. were let out. Also dropped from the suit were Halliburton Energy Services and DII Industries.

MsSparky wrote:
Civilians contractors are not soldiers.Therefore they are still responsible for the safety of their employees. KBR/Halliburton bid on and accepted Task Order 43 knowing that in their Scope of Work (SOW) it stated:
1.2 Worksite Safety. The contractor shall be responsible for safety of employees and base camp residents during all operations in accordance with Army, OSHA, and the host nation safety regulations and guidance.
Personally, I think KBR had the option to stop their drivers from participating in this convoy based on the intelligence they received.
Ms Sparky

11/24/2009 9:57:59 PM

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