Contractor, DynCorp, found not liable for war-zone employee deaths
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 14, 2010
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.
Is DynCorp having employees sign separate agreements stating this or are they relying on the normally undisclosed Exclusive Remedy clause in the DBA? There is no DBA policy to read and agree to.
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.
The Delaware Supreme Court, in upholding the lower court’s dismissal of the case, rejected the argument that the employee agreement was vague by releasing the company of responsibility on “any claim” in return for agreed-upon benefits, and the court rejected the argument that the agreement did not extend to employer negligence, according to court documents.
The significant part of the agreement, according to the court, states that “the employee understands and accepts the fact that he or she may be exposed to dangers due to the nature of the mission. The employee agrees that neither the Employer nor its affiliates will be liable in the event of death, injury, or disability, to Employee, except as stated.”
DynCorp’s agreement with the employees involved the purchase of life insurance, medical coverage and disability benefits as required under the Defense Base Act, under which many government contractors operate, but releases DynCorps from legal damages from negligence or other issues such as wrongful death.
Please see the complete article at the above link