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$85 million awarded to 12 Oregon soldiers; KBR guilty of negligence, not fraud

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 2, 2012

Oregon Live  November 2, 1012

A Portland jury found defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent, but did not commit fraud against a dozen Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who sued the company for its conduct in Iraq nine years ago. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak announced the decision about 3:35 p.m. the U.S. Courthouse in Portland. Each soldier was awarded $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages.

“It’s a little bit of justice,” said Guard veteran Jason Arnold, moments after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon. Arnold was one of four of the soldier-plaintiffs in the courtroom was the verdict was read.

The verdict should send an important message to those who rely on military troops, he said.

“We’re not disposable,” said another soldier, Aaron St. Clair. “People are not going to make money from our blood.”

KBR’s lead attorney, Geoffrey Harrison, said the company will appeal.

“We will appeal the jury’s incorrect verdict,” he said. “We believe the trial court should have dismissed the case before the trial.”

Harrison said the soldiers’ lawyers produced a medical expert, Dr. Arch Carson, who offered “unsupported, untested medical opinions” that each soldier had suffered invisible, cellular-level injuries as a result of their exposure to hexavalent chromium.

The verdict means the jury did not hear clear and convincing evidence that KBR intended to deceive the soldiers in the way it operated at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, near Basra, Iraq. But they did find that the company failed to meet its obligations in managing the work at the plant.

Friday’s verdict closes the first phase of a web of litigation between National Guard and British troops against KBR Inc., the defense contractor they accuse of knowingly exposing them in 2003 to a carcinogen at Qarmat Ali. KBR has denied the accusations.

In Oregon another set of Oregon soldiers are waiting in the wings for their day in court. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak and the attorneys agreed earlier to hold an initial trial with the first 12 soldiers, in order to keep the proceedings from becoming too unwieldy. A second trial, featuring all or some of the remaining 21 plaintiffs, could begin in federal court in Portland this winter.

Another lawsuit brought by Indiana soldiers against KBR is on hold in federal court in Texas, while an appeals court considers a jurisdictional issue.

The cases stem from the chaotic aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Army Corps of Engineers hired KBR Inc. to run a massive program called Restore Iraqi Oil. The program involved dozens of sites throughout Iraq — sites that neither the Army nor KBR had visited before the invasion. The project was intended to quickly restore the flow of Iraq’s oil, partly to fund the war. The Pentagon remembered the way Saddam Hussein had lit the fields on fire during the first Gulf War, and feared a repeat in 2003.

Qarmat Ali was a compound where water was pumped underground to drive oil to the surface elsewhere. For decades, Iraqis had treated the water with sodium dichromate, an anticorrosion agent that contains hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. (Sodium dichromate is banned in the United States.)

Iraq’s Southern Oil Co. took delivery of sodium dichromate, an orange-yellow crystalline powder, in bags that were stored on site. Soldiers and others testified that the material was loose and drifting around the site, and had contaminated areas even outside the chemical injection building where it was added to the water.

How contaminated was it? Accounts differ. Even one of the plaintiffs in this case said he didn’t notice any soil discoloration. One of the British soldiers whose testimony was prerecorded said it was everywhere. Another Oregon soldier said it settled heavily on the clothing of the soldiers, who unwittingly carried it back to their camps over the border in Kuwait.

Much of KBR’s defense in the first Oregon trial focused on just how unlikely it was that any soldier — who visited the plant at durations from one day to 21 days — could have been exposed to dangerously high levels of sodium dichromate. But one of the most gripping portions of the testimony was when Oregon veteran Larry Roberta described eating a chicken patty that had been coated with the orange crystals, which he said immediately burned in his esophagus, causing him to vomit.

Roberta now is confined to a wheelchair and takes oxygen from a tank in his backpack. He had a history of gastrointestinal issues, but attributes much of his poor health to his time at Qarmat Ali.

Harrison, KBR’s lawyer, said the company “believes in the judicial process and respects the efforts and time of the jurors,” but believes the process that brought the case to conclusion Friday shouldn’t have been allowed to come so far.

“KBR did safe and exceptional work in Iraq under difficult circumstances,” he said in a brief, prepared statement. “We believe the facts and law ultimately will provide vindication.”

Soldier-plaintiff Arnold said the message of the verdict is unmistakable. He said service members are being exploited “to this day.”

Now, he said, “the voice will be out. There will be a lot more scrutiny.”

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, Toxic Exposures, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tierney and Cummings Seek Administration Help on Legislation to Save Taxpayers Billions on Insuring Federal Contractors Overseas

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 18, 2012

“IT”S TIME TO FIX THIS PROGRAM”

Washington, DC (Sept. 11, 2012)— September 17, 2012

Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John F. Tierney, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget requesting support for, and input on, H.R. 5891, The Defense Base Act Insurance Improvement Act of 2012.

“This is a common-sense bill that would save the American taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Tierney. “Numerous government audits have concluded that we are paying too much for workers’ compensation insurance for overseas government contractors, and that these workers aren’t getting what they deserve. It’s time to fix this program.”

The legislation would transition the existing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance program to a government self-insurance program. According to a 2009 Pentagon study, this change could save as much as $250 million a year. The study found: “In the long run, the self-insurance alternative may have the greatest potential for minimizing DBA insurance costs, and it has several administrative and compliance advantages as well.”

“We are sponsoring this legislation because several audits of the current DBA program have documented enormous unnecessary costs incurred by taxpayers,” Cummings and Tierney wrote.

The existing system has been a boondoggle for private insurance companies, which have reaped enormous profits under the program. According to an Oversight Committee investigation, insurance companies providing DBA insurance in Iraq and Afghanistan have made enormous underwriting profits that are significantly higher than those of traditional workers’ compensation insurers.

The letter from Tierney and Cummings requests support for the legislation and notes that “OMB may be evaluating similar options.”

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Political Watch, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Burn, Baby !, Burn !

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 4, 2012

Remember when rioters in Watts, Calif., began shouting “Burn, Baby! BURN!” in the turmoil of 1965? I’m sure they didn’t have the following future in mind.

That would be the various lawsuits against KBR for operating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we should all be paying attention to this and not just for the human toll it has taken on soldiers and contractors. It also says something disturbing about the ability of the federal government to exercise proper control over its private contractors.

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  September 4, 2012

An article, “Military Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan: Considerations and Obstacles for Emerging Litigation” by Kate Donovan Kurera, in the Fall 2010 issue of the Pace Environmental Law Review provides the necessary insight.

For those who haven’t been paying attention the last four years the background goes thusly:

Burn pits have been relied on heavily as a waste disposal method at military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of United States military presence in these countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively. Little attention was paid to the pits in Iraq and Afghanistan until Joshua Eller, a computer technician deployed in Iraq, filed suit in 2008 against KBR for negligently exposing thousands of soldiers, former KBR employees, and civilians to unsafe conditions due to “faulty waste disposal systems.” Eller and a group of more than two hundred plaintiffs returning from their tours of duty, attribute chronic illnesses, disease, and even death to exposure to thick black and green toxic burn pit smoke that descended into their living quarters and interfered with military operations.

The plaintiffs assert that they witnessed batteries, plastics, biohazard materials, solvents, asbestos, chemical and medical wastes, items doused with diesel fuel, and even human remains being dumped into open burn pits. Defense Department officials say this waste stream contained items now prohibited pursuant to revised guidelines. Plaintiffs contend that KBR breached these contracts by negligently operating burn pits.

As of August 2010 there were an estimated two hundred and fifty one burns pits operating in Afghanistan and twenty two in Iraq. The most attention has focused on the burn pit operating at Joint Base Balad in Iraq, which was suspected of burning two hundred and forty tons of waste a day at peak operation

While the health impact of the pits is what the media focuses on, Kurera sees even more important legal issues: She writes:  Please read the entire article here

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Burn Pits, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Suicides and Mental Trauma of Family Members

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 22, 2012

Civilian Contractors Families have no family support system, no family counseling, plus often the added stress of no medical care and/or disability payments for years on end

Is it a wonder that most DBA Casualty Families are destroyed?

“…we are still discovering, still revealing, fissures and cracks in the family support system.”

Global Research  August 22, 2012

Seven months ago, in December, 2011, Brian Arredondo, age 24, hanged himself in a shed in his mother’s backyard. Brian was the brother of US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. For seven years Brian had had difficulties dealing with the death of his brother.

Brian, like so many military brothers, sisters, spouses, children and parents, fell into the depths of depression following the death of his brother.

These difficulties in coping with his brother’s death played out in Brian in his depression, dropping out of school, using alcohol and drugs, being in and out of drug rehab facilities, in continuing incidents with police for disorderly conduct and finally in suicide.

Please read the entire article here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, PTSD and TBI, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Army Wants PTSD Clinicians to Stop Screening for Fakers: Chances are they are probably ailing

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 3, 2012

While even the military realizes the dangers of delaying and denying PTSD Diagnoses and Treatment

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and their Overly Zealous Defense continue to brutally delay and deny diagnoses and treatment of PTSD to injured war zone contractors, most having served their country in the military.

In fact they are still allowed to force PTSD patients to undergo psychological  interrogation by the infamous Dr John Dorland Griffith who has been discredited over and over again, and falsely accused injured war zone contractors of malingering.  Many PTSD claims were denied based on his paid in cash testimony.

In case after case treatable PTSD becomes a chronic lifelong condition, destroying lives, shredding families.

Ultimately costing taxpayers and our society as a whole much more in the long run but provide more profits for the insurer and ever more fees for attorneys on both side of this boondoggle.

The Department of Labor presented policy five years requiring PTSD Claims to be expedited but the policy was never implemented.

Wired’s Danger Room

In a big reversal, the Army has issued a stern new set of guidelines to doctors tasked with diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among returning soldiers. Stop spending so much time trying to spot patients who are faking symptoms, the new guidelines instruct. Chances are, they’re actually ailing.

The 17-page document has yet to be made public but was described in some detail by the Seattle Times. In it, the Army Surgeon General’s Office specifically points out — and discredits — a handful of screening tests for PTSD that are widely used by military clinicians to diagnose a condition estimated to afflict at least 200,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

The Army Surgeon General finds great fault with a dense personality test popular with clinicians that ostensibly weeds out “malingerers,” as PTSD fakers are known.

But the results of what’s known as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Test are flawed, according to the report. PTSD sufferers often exhibit anxiety, insomnia, flashbacks and depression — all of which, some doctors believe, can be discounted under the test. The test devotes a large swath of questions to catching apparent exaggerations of symptom severity, seemingly inconsistent answers, or reported symptoms that don’t mesh with the typical signs associated with an illness.

“The report rejects the view that a patient’s response to hundreds of written test questions can determine if a soldier is faking symptoms,” the Seattle Times summarized. Where PTSD is concerned, that’s especially true. The condition is accompanied by symptoms that can differ markedly between patients: Some are hyperactive, others are lethargic; some exhibit frenetic rage while others are simply sullen and depressed.

“And,” the Times continued, “[the report] declares that poor test results ‘does not equate to malingering.’”

Those tests were the standard of care at Madigan Army Medical Center — which is a big deal. Located in Tacoma, Washington, Madigan isn’t just one of the military’s largest medical installations. It’s home to a forensic psychiatry team tasked with deciding whether soldiers diagnosed with PTSD were sick enough to qualify for medical retirement. In March, the Army launched an investigation of the Madigan team after Madigan’s screening procedures allegedly reversed 300 of the PTSD diagnoses among soldiers being evaluated.

The reversals resulted in some soldiers being diagnosed with “personality disorders” and others left with no diagnosis at all. Madigan allegedly used the tests to save money by limiting the number of patients who’d qualify for retirement. “

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, Veterans Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Attention ALJ’s, Department of Labor, Defense Base Act Insurance Companies: It’s Official, The Iraq War was Dangerous for Everybody

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2012

Texas District Court Rules Iraq War Not Life Threatening

Eyesslinck VS Ronco Consulting:  Injustice Prevails

Many Civilian Contractors were sent to Post War Iraq in 2003 with little consideration for their safety even after it became clear that the Mission had not been Accomplished.  

Due to the Defense Base Acts Exclusive Remedy Contract Companies and those they take orders from never had to be concerned with Threat Mitigation, no cost to them when an employee is killed or injured.  Taxpayer picks up the tab, Contract Company puts another warm body in place.

When is our Government going to put it’s people before Profit

Lessons for Consideration from SIGIR Special Report #2

SIGIR identified two lessons for consideration.

1.  Reconstruction or stabilization operations conducted in combat zones present  potentially lethal threats to all participants, including military, contractors, U.S.  government civilians, third-country nationals, and host country citizens.        Planning for  such operations must anticipate this threat.

Reconstruction or stabilization operations are sometimes described as “soft,” “non-kinetic,” or “non-lethal” missions, but when they occur in a combat zone, these characterizations are a misnomer.   The human losses suffered in Iraq (and outlined in this report) underscore the point that when such operations are conducted in combat zones, they are dangerous for everyone involved, military and civilian, U.S. and non-U.S. alike Given the broad risks inherent in such operations, leaders and planners should consider threat mitigation when deciding to conduct reconstruction or stabilization operations missions in combat zones.

2.  Poor casualty data management during reconstruction or stabilization operations  obscures the actual human cost of such operations.       Reliably integrated databases must be developed and implemented prior to commencing future reconstruction or  stabilization operations.

One measure of the cost of reconstruction or stabilization operations is the number of casualties suffered.  Without accurate records, there cannot be a reasonably complete evaluation of the human cost of reconstruction or stabilization efforts.  U.S. agencies involved in such missions should develop systems that effectively track all casualty data related to stabilization or reconstruction operations.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Exclusive Remedy, Iraq, Political Watch, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iraq war veteran, 25, shoots himself after battle with PTSD

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2012

Once every half hour in America, a veteran tries to commit suicide according to VA figures for 2011

We’ll never know how many Civilian Contractor Suicides , how many could be prevented

The Daily Mail  July 27, 2012

On a warm summer afternoon, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard.

Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

‘His eyes rolled back,’ his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide. ‘There was just nothing I could do.’

Weeks before he killed himself at the family’s home in Champion, Ohio, Michael received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs accusing him of ‘over-reporting’ the extent of his psychiatric problems.  Read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Dropping the DBA Ball, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dan Hoagland’s Death Sentence at the hands of AIG’s Overly Zealous Defense

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 4, 2012

Injured War Zone Contractor Dan Hoagland shares his story of medical treatment denied  by KBR/AIG resulting in a death sentence by Cancer with Sean Calleb.

Scott Bloch, Defense Base Act Attorney tells the truth about the Defense Base Act Insurance Scandal and our Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit.

Join our Defense Base Act Class Action Lawsuit here

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, Iraq, KBR, Misjudgements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Defense Base Act War Hazards Act: Overly Zealous Representation in Defending Against a DBA Claim

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 27, 2012

employer/carrier’s inadequate or overly zealous representation in defending against a DBA claim may be grounds for denying all or some portion of a request for WHCA reimbursement.

So Mr Rayburn how many War Hazards reimbursements has the DFEC denied

in part or whole over the following

Overly Zealous DBA Insurance Company Defense Tactics ?

The use of repeated Defense Medical Examinations with Doctors Over Paid to produce a report detrimental to the claimant, to run them through the drill

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The claims process being drug out for as long as nine years with no end in sight while the defense racks up ever more legal fees, the insco keeps charging administrative fees, not to mention the claimants attorneys fee’s, while the claimant goes without  medical and/or indemnity

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Unnecessary mileage, airfare, lodging, expenses paid out due to due coercing claimants to travel as far as five states away to attend Defense Medical Examinations, Mediations, Depositions, Hearings

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The use of private investigators, some even criminals themselves, to stalk and intimidate injured contractors and their families far beyond simply confirming a claimants status

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The use of  Third Party Administrators to handle claims processes that could easily be done without the added expense and fees.

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Unnecessary fines and interest due to non payment or late payment of  indemnity

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The financial ruination of injured contractors and their families caused by the overly zealous controverting of legitimate claims

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The Temporary Disabilities which are now Permanent due to their failure to provide medical care under the guise of investigating clearly legitimate claims.  Now the US taxpayer is responsible for disabilities far beyond what they ever had to be.

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The PTSD Suicides caused by the Insurance Companies, their claims examiners, and their attorneys

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The break up of families caused the constant pressure and abusive tactics used by the Employer/Carrier

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The forced acceptance of inadequate settlements or stipulated agreements due to starving the claimant out for years on end and/or threatening the claimant and family that if they do not accept the inadequate settlement they will make them miserable for the rest of their lives (see The Weaponization of the Defense Medical Examination)

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Unfairly denying the claimants attorneys fees in order to discourage good attorneys from handling these claims

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FECA BULLETIN NO. 12-01

XI. Miscellaneous

1. DFEC requires, before acceptance of any WHCA reimbursement claim, that the employer/carrier has made only reasonable and prudent efforts in presenting all meritorious defenses against a DBA claim without regard to whether the case is eligible for WHCA reimbursement. An employer/carrier’s inadequate or overly zealous representation in defending against a DBA claim may be grounds for denying all or some portion of a request for WHCA reimbursement.

CECILY A. RAYBURN
Director, Division of Planning, Policy and Standards

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, DBA Attorneys Fees, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Hope that I die, Injured Contractors, KBR, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide, Veterans, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Defense Base Act: What is a Settlement ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 21, 2012

A settlement is when the insurance company pays you a lump sum amount to close out your indemnity, your medical, or both.

It is only a settlement when you are paid a lump sum amount of money and you are done with the insurance company.

Nothing else is a settlement.

An agreement based on stipulations to pay you XX amount of money every month is not a settlement, your claim is not then settled.

And an agreement to provide your medical for your agreed upon injuries does not mean your medical is settled.  In fact it means you will continue to litigate

But these agreements do allow the Insurance Company to seek reimbursement under the War Hazards Act as though they were settled

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Liberty Mutual, Political Watch, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Defense of Freedom Medal Held Hostage by The Defense Base Act

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 31, 2012

WHY HAVE I NOT RECEIVED THE DEFENSE OF FREEDOM MEDAL?

The Defense of Freedom Medal is an award held to be the equivalent of the Purple Heart and is awarded to Civilian Contractors injured in the war zones. 

One question we get here repeatedly is why have I not received the Defense of Freedom Medal?   The question comes from severely disabled Civilian Contractors wounded in horrific explosions and insurgent attacks.

WHO IS HOLDING YOUR MEDAL HOSTAGE?

The company you work for is responsible for requesting  that you receive the medal and providing the documentation that you have indeed suffered a qualifying injury.

As all Injured War Zone Contractors know the minute you must file a Defense Base Act Claim you are automatically placed in an adversarial relationship with your employer.   Your Employer and the Defense Base Act Insurance Company are considered equal entities in the battle you have entered for your medical care and indemnity.

Your Employer is required to assist the insurance company in denying your claim.  Under the War Hazards Act the Employer/Carrier must prove to the WHA Tribunal that they have diligently tried to deny your claim.

It appears that your Defense of Freedom Medals could be held hostage by your Employers due to the adversarial relationship the Defense Base Act has created.

When KBR, DynCorp, Blackwater, Xe, et al, provide documentation of your injuries to the DoD they have just admitted that you are indeed injured and to what extent.

Specific information regarding injury/death: Description of the situation causing the injury/death in detail to include the date, time, place, and scene of the incident, and official medical documentation of the employee’s injuries and treatment. The description must be well documented, including the names of witnesses and point of contact (POC) for additional medical information, if needed.

These admissions sure would make it hard for Administrative Law Judges like Paul C Johnson to name them as alleged.   ALJ Paul C Johnson has yet to award benefits to a DBA Claimant in a decision based on a hearing.

KBR who can never seem to find their injured employees medical records holds the key to the Defense of Freedom Medal.

Certainly there are other lawsuits outside of the DBA that the withholding of this information is vital too.

For those of you who still give a damn after being abused by so badly simply because you were injured-

The Defense of Freedom Medal may find you many years down the road once an Administrative Law Judge says you were injured.

We recommend that you contact your Congressional Representative or Senator and have them request this Medal if you qualify for it and would like to have it.

If you are still litigating your claim it SHOULD serve to legitimize your alleged injuries.

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense of Freedom Medal, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Political Watch, Racketeering, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Under fire: Wartime stress as a defense for murder

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 6, 2012

This is the price that innocent people pay when PTSD and TBI are IGNORED by the Military, the Veterans Administration  and the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies.  The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies should be found guilty of murder themselves in many instances.

“We haven’t begun to see the wave of all this.”

Should post-traumatic stress disorder be a defense for murder? Watch “War Rage on Trial” on CNN Presents, Sunday, May 6 at 8 p.m./11p.m. ET.

CNN

Less than a year after returning from combat in Iraq, Nick Horner was charged with two murders.

Altoona, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Raymond Williams had just retired and was looking forward to traveling out west with his wife and spending time with his three grandchildren. But all those plans were shattered on April 6, 2009. As Williams, 64, went to get the mail on that spring day, he was gunned down by a man he’d never met.

His wife found his body.

“She said, you know ‘Matt! Matt! Somebody shot Dad,'” recalled Williams’ son, Matt. “It didn’t register. I’m thinking, ‘OK where is he now? Did they take him to the hospital? What hospital is he in?’ And before I could even get another word out, she goes ‘And he’s dead.'”

A short time earlier, the same gunman had killed a teenager and wounded a woman at a store in the same working-class town of Altoona in central Pennsylvania.

The gunman, Nicholas Horner, was a husband, a father, and a veteran soldier who had been awarded multiple medals for his service in Iraq, including a combat action badge. Less than a year after returning from combat, Horner faced two first degree murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty.

“Not in a million years could I believe this was true because Nick would never, he could never hurt anyone,” said Horner’s mother, Karen. “I know Nick. Nick pulled the trigger, but that wasn’t Nick.”

Please read the entire story here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Hope that I die, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

War is Brain-Damaging

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 18, 2012

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and the Department of Labor are as negligent as the Department of Defense when it comes denying the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and most negligently when a contractor suffers from both.

“a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop”

The New York Times Sunday Review

These vets suffer from a particular kind of brain damage that results from repeated exposure to the concussive force of improvised explosive devices — I.E.D.’s — a regular event for troops traveling the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s Russian roulette,” one vet told me, “We had one guy in our company who got hit nine times before the 10th one waxed him.” An I.E.D. explosion can mean death or at least a lost arm or leg, but you don’t have to take a direct hit to feel its effects. A veteran who’d been in 26 blasts explained, “It feels like you’re whacked in the head with a shovel. When you come to, you don’t know whether you’re dead or alive.”

The news that Robert Bales, an Army staff sergeant accused of having killed 16 Afghan civilians last week, had suffered a traumatic brain injury unleashed a flurry of e-mails among those of us who have been trying to beat the drums about this widespread — and often undiagnosed — war injury. New facts about Staff Sgt. Bales are coming out daily. After we heard about the brain injury that resulted when his vehicle rolled over in an I.E.D. blast, we were told that he had lost part of his foot in a separate incident. Then we learned that the day before his rampage, he’d been standing by a buddy when that man’s leg was blown off. There are also reports of alcohol use.

People with more appropriate professional skills than mine will have to parse these facts, but from what I have learned in my work as a storyteller, this tragedy may be related to something I heard about in my interviews: a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop. If alcohol was indeed part of the picture, it could have further undermined his compromised frontal lobe function

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

All’s Fair in Love and AIG WAR? No Ethics ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 14, 2012

Defense Base Act Claimants really are in another War Zone when they must file a DBA Claim.

As it turns out many, too many, of the Plaintiff’s own Attorneys are aiding and abetting the enemy

Last January ALJ  Berlin awarded the Dill Widow DBA Death Benefits in a very important PTSD/Suicide Claim.

This claim was denied for five years while Wade Dill’s  widow Barbara’s integrity was brutally attacked as though she had pulled the trigger herself.

KBR refused to supply Wade Dill’s medical records and other reports which would have exposed the state of mind he was in while still in Iraq.  But it is OK to defy discovery if you are AIG/KBR-SEII.  Do not try this yourself, you’ll lose your claim.

Dennis Nalick was the Attorney who brought this claim to a successful decision. 

Barbara Dill’s next Attorney, Bruce H Nicholson, refused to address misinformation in the records saying “you won the claim why would you want to mess with it”.

Mr Nicholson refuted any suggestion that this very important decision would be appealed.  He went so far as to tell the Widow that she should discontinue corresponding with those who assured her it would be.  Bad people we are, just trying to upset her needlessly.

AIG KBR SEII via Michael Thomas appealed the decision.

Mr Nicholson never responded to the Benefits Review Board on behalf of the Widow though he assured her he was on top of it and he and the widow corresponded regularly.

On February 28 the BRB overturned the ALJ’s decision, unopposed.  The widow was not represented at all.

Mr. Nicholson was though, prior to this decision, negotiating a “settlement” with Michael Thomas and AIG which would take this important PTSD Suicide decision out of this WAR as case law for all impending and future PTSD Suicide claims.  The same Mr Nicholson who posted here at the blog in response to the award:

“The decision represents a sound road map for work related contractor suicide claims and is unlikely to be overturned when followed.”

We ask, is no one in this wretched biased system held to any standard of ethical practice?

Mr Nicholson was responsible for representing the Widow and he did not.

Would it not have been a requirement of those who were involved in this to make the widow aware, to speak up?

We do not kid ourselves that this was simply a case of friendly fire.  There was too much at stake here.

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Defense Medical Examinations, Delay, Deny, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

PTSD diagnoses at Lewis-McChord reexamined

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 13, 2012

Thanks to MsSparky for putting this one together, your DBAComp team is busy SCREAMING WHY !!!!

YOU SICK INSURANCE COMPANIES AND YOUR DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ALONG WITH SOME DOL EMPLOYEES ARE JUST AS GUILTY AS THE MILITARY

It is home base not only of the soldier accused in this weekend’s shooting of civilian women and children in Afghanistan, but also , who was recently convicted of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

It’s also the base of Iraq War veteran , the suspect in the killing of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day. (Barnes’ body was later found in the park.) “Beltway Sniper” – executed in 2009 for killing 10 people around Washington, D.C. – was also stationed at Lewis-McChord.

(CBS/AP) – March 12, 2012 – Diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder at an Army Medical Center located at the home base of the soldier accused of fatally shooting 16 Afghan civilians has been under scrutiny by Army investigators.

The forensic psychiatry unit at had come under fire for reversing diagnoses of for nearly 300 service members during the past five years. The head of Madigan Healthcare System was recently placed on administrative leave.

The Army initiated an investigation following an Army ombudsman’s memo indicating that hospital officials were encouraging psychiatrists to limit diagnoses of PTSD in order to reduce costs.

Madigan is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., which has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is home base not only of the soldier accused in this weekend’s shooting of civilian women and children in Afghanistan, but also Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who was recently convicted of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

It’s also the base of Iraq War veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect in the killing of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day. (Barnes’ body was later found in the park.) “Beltway Sniper” John Allen Muhammad – executed in 2009 for killing 10 people around Washington, D.C. – was also stationed at Lewis-McChord.

It is unknown what, if any, role PTSD played in the case of Sunday’s attack.

Shooting suspect is from troubled U.S. base
Afghan rampage: Suspect’s motive a big unknown
U.S. soldier held in deaths of 16 Afghans

PTSD is a condition which results from experiencing or seeing a traumatic event, such as a battlefield casualty. Symptoms can include recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, irritability and feeling distant from other people.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Soldiers are often diagnosed with PTSD as they move through the Army medical system. The forensic team at Madigan was charged with making a final diagnostic review of soldiers under consideration for retirement.

In 2008 the Rand Corporation had estimated that one in five veterans of fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from major depression or PTSD.

The ombudsman’s memo, as reported in The Seattle News-Tribune, quoted a Madigan Army psychiatrist telling a September 2011 meeting of medical center clinicians not to simply “rubber stamp” a soldier’s PTSD diagnosis, which could allow the service member to retire with disability and lifetime health benefits ranging between $400,000 and $1.5 million.

The psychiatrist stated that “we have to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” and warned PTSD diagnoses could lead to the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs going broke.

In February the Seattle Times reported that the head of Madigan Healthcare System, Col. Dallas Homas, was administratively removed from command less than a year after taking over.

“This is a common practice during ongoing investigations and nothing more,” Maj. Gen. Phillip Volpe, head of Western Regional Medical Command, told the Associated Press.

Madigan’s PTSD screeners were also suspended from duty as Army Medical Command investigates the reversed diagnoses.

The staff at Madigan has denied they were pressured by commanders to limit PTSD diagnoses.

Earlier this year 14 soldiers were re-evaluated after complaining that their PTSD diagnoses had been reversed by Madigan. (Six of the 14 had their PTSD diagnoses reinstated.) Last week, it was announced that an additional 285 patients had been identified as having had their PTSD diagnoses reversed at Madigan since 2007.

The soldiers will be invited to undergo new evaluations, either at Madigan or at other military facilities. (Click HERE for original article)

Posted in Afghanistan, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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