Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Archive for the ‘KBR’ Category

Burn Pits Claims

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 4, 2012

Breathing dust, fumes and other and other toxic substances, exposed troops deployed overseas, and those who worked for government contractors abroad and other civilians, to a serious hazards. Some of the chemicals were very toxic carcinogens and are deadly.

At US Senate hearings it was revealed that the toxic carcinogen, Sodium Dichromate (CAS 10588-01-9), was spread across a ruined water-injection facility in Qarmat Ali, Iraq, when the soldiers were there in the spring and summer of 2003. Thousands of individuals may have been exposed.

A simple evaluation may assist in assessing your exposure and disease which includes: a history which characterized the exposure and preexisting medical conditions of each individual exposed; a physical exam that identified any findings potentially related to a chromium exposure, and medical tests including blood, urine, chest X-ray, and a breathing test (called a pulmonary function test).

An exposure to this chemical may produce:

  • Chronic health effects
  • Lung and throat cancer
  • Blisters and deep ulcers
  • Damage to the septum
  • Skin allergy
  • Asthma-like allergy
  • Kidney damage.

As a supporter for the improved health and welfare of individuals against hazardous occupational and environmental exposures, Jon L. Gelman advocates for changes in safety standards and safer use of chemicals. If you have been exposed to burn pit dust, smoke or fumes or Sodium Dichromate, contact Jon Gelman via e-mail or call +1 973-696-7900.

Please see the list of known Burn Pit locations here

Posted in Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

$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 »

Iraq convoy was sent out despite threat

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 9, 2012

Unarmored trucks carrying needed supplies were ambushed, leaving six drivers dead. Records illuminate the fateful decision.

“Can anyone explain to me why we put civilians in the middle of known ambush sites?”

“Maybe we should put body bags on the packing list for our drivers.”

T Christian Miller The LA Times  September 3, 2007

Senior managers for defense contractor KBR overruled calls to halt supply operations in Iraq in the spring of 2004, ordering unarmored trucks into an active combat zone where six civilian drivers died in an ambush, according to newly available documents.

Company e-mails and other internal communications reveal that before KBR dispatched the convoy, a chorus of security advisors predicted an increase in roadside bombings and attacks on Iraq’s highways. They recommended suspension of convoys.

“[I] think we will get people injured or killed tomorrow,” warned KBR regional security chief George Seagle, citing “tons of intel.” But in an e-mail sent a day before the convoy was dispatched, he also acknowledged: “Big politics and contract issues involved.”

KBR was under intense pressure from the military to deliver on its multibillion-dollar contract to transport food, fuel and other vital supplies to U.S. soldiers. At Baghdad’s airport, a shortage of jet fuel threatened to ground some units.

After consulting with military commanders, KBR’s top managers decided to keep the convoys rolling. “If the [Army] pushes, then we push, too,” wrote an aide to Craig Peterson, KBR’s top official in Iraq.

The decision prompted a raging internal debate that is detailed in private KBR documents, some under court seal, that were reviewed by The Times.

One KBR management official threatened to resign when superiors ordered truckers to continue driving. “I cannot consciously sit back and allow unarmed civilians to get picked apart,” wrote Keith Richard, chief of the trucking operation.

Six American truck drivers and two U.S. soldiers were killed when the convoy rumbled into a five-mile gauntlet of weapons fire on April 9, 2004, making an emergency delivery of jet fuel to the airport. One soldier and a seventh trucker remain missing.

Recriminations began the same day.

“Can anyone explain to me why we put civilians in the middle of known ambush sites?” demanded one security advisor in an e-mail. “Maybe we should put body bags on the packing list for our drivers.”

Please read the entire story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Contractors Kidnapped, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Defense, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Injured Contractors, Iraq, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractors in War Zones: Not Exactly “Contracting”

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 9, 2012

There are more contractors than troops in Afghanistan

Time’s Battleland  October 9, 2012 by David Isenberg

U.S. military forces may be out of Iraq, but the unsung and unrecognized part of America’s modern military establishment is still serving and sacrificing — the role played by private military and security contractors.

That their work is dangerous can be seen by looking at the headlines. Just last Thursday a car bomb hit a private security convoy in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding at least nine others.

That is hardly an isolated incident. According to the most recent Department of Labor statistics there were at least 121 civilian contractor deaths filed on in the third quarter of 2012. Of course, these included countries besides Iraq.

As the Defense Base Act Compensation blog notes, “these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.” To date, a total of 90,680 claims have been filed since September 1, 2001.

How many contractors are now serving on behalf of the U.S. government?

According to the most recent quarterly contractor census report issued by the U.S. Central Command, which includes both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 18 other countries stretching from Egypt to Kazakhstan, there were approximately 137,000 contractors working for the Pentagon in its region. There were 113,376 in Afghanistan and 7,336 in Iraq. Of that total, 40,110 were U.S. citizens, 50,560 were local hires, and 46,231 were from neither the U.S. not the country in which they were working.

Put simply, there are more contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

These numbers, however, do not reflect the totality of contractors. For example, they do not include contractors working for the U.S. State Department. The CENTCOM report says that “of FY 2012, the USG contractor population in Iraq will be approximately 13.5K.  Roughly half of these contractors are employed under Department of State contracts.”

While most of the public now understands that contractors perform a lot of missions once done by troops – peeling potatoes, pulling security — they may not realize just how dependent on them the Pentagon has become.

Please read the entire post here

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Iraq, KBR, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, due to lack of Diagnoses and Early Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2012

“But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

As a civilian contractor you will be denied early treatment by the insurance company.  The liability for this further injury is with the Defense Base Act Insurance Company, CNA leading the way.  

David Woods The Huffington Post  September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — Almost a quarter million American troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury are at risk of developing a degenerative disease that causes bursts of anger and depression and can lead to memory loss, difficulty walking and speaking, paranoia and suicide, according to military researchers.

At present, medical officials cannot diagnose or prevent the disease, called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and there is no known treatment for it, said Army Col. Dallas Hack, director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program.

But researchers are hot on the trail of new procedures to detect and diagnose the disease, and there is hope that early detection of brain injury among troops exposed to blasts from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan could prevent them from falling victim to CTE.

“We don’t fully understand the incidence of CTE with the occurrence of traumatic brain injury,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Randall McCafferty, chief of neurosurgery at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. “But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

Please read the entire post here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Dropping the DBA Ball, KBR, Misjudgements, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Joe Biden’s Uncounted Angels

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 11, 2012

“By the way, lest you think I’m a Republican partisan, neither Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention so much as mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan, let alone casualties. That might be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic, given that this is the party that normally falls all over itself, playing up its supposed support for wartime sacrifice.”

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  September 11, 2012

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was working  for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

If you weren’t listening closely you might have missed it but last week, at the Democratic national convention, Vice President Joe Biden gave a major diss to the private military and security contracting (PMSC) industry.

In the course of his speech he said:

And tonight — (applause) — and tonight — tonight I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.
Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.

Biden might actually be a bit off; another famed Biden gaffe perhaps. The official Pentagon estimate through Sept. 7 for fatalities, which includes Defense Department civilians is 6,594 but their wounded estimate is exactly the same as Biden’s.

Don’t get me wrong. As an American and military veteran the toll of the military dead and wounded, especially those killed or wounded in Iraq, a war of choice, not necessity, tears at me. All these deaths and casualties should be remembered.

But as long as we are going to do body counts let us not low ball. What about all the PMSC personnel who have also made the ultimate sacrifice?

I’ve written about this before but since this is such an unappreciated subject, let’s review.

The U.S. Department of Labor publishes figures based on data maintained by its Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, saying, “These reports do not constitute the complete or official casualty statistics of civilian contractor injuries and deaths.” These figures are not that useful as they refer to numbers of claims filed and not actual total fatalities. Their wounded totals also include figures for those injuries where there was no lost time or where lost time was just three or four days.

Still, through June 30 this year, the number of claims filed for Iraq and Afghanistan total 47,673 and 17,831, respectively. The number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are 1,569 and 1,173. So that’s 2,742 dead “fallen angels”, who were working to support U.S. troops, diplomats, and private firms per overall U.S. goals in those countries, that Biden did not include.

By the way, to get an idea of the sheer Joe Heller surrealism of trying to track contractor casualties see this post by Overseas Civilian Contractors.

A better sense of the toll can be seen in this 2010 paper written by Prof. Steve Schooner and Colin Swan of George Washington University Law School. As they noted:

As of June 2010, more than 2,008 contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 44 contractors killed were in Kuwait, many of whom supported the same missions. On top of that, more than 44,000 contractors have been injured, of which more than 16,000 were seriously wounded (see Figure 3). While these numbers rarely see the light of day, Figure 1 reflects the startling fact that contractor deaths now represent over twenty-five (25) percent of all U.S. fatalities since the beginning of these military actions.

In fact, in recent years contractors have, proportionately speaking, sacrificed even more than regular forces.

What is even more striking is that — in both Iraq and Afghanistan — contractors are bearing an increasing proportion of the annual death toll. In 2003, contractor deaths represented only 4 percent of all fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2004 to 2007, that number rose to 27 percent. From 2008 to the second quarter of 2010, contractor fatalities accounted for an eye-popping 40 percent of the combined death toll. In the first two quarters of 2010 alone, contractor deaths represented more than half — 53 percent — of all fatalities. This point bears emphasis: since January 2010, more contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than U.S. military soldiers. In other words, contractors supporting the war effort today are losing more lives than the U.S. military waging these wars. Indeed, two recent estimates suggest private security personnel working for DoD in Iraq and Afghanistan — a small percentage of the total contractor workforce in these regions — were 1.8 to 4.5 times more likely to be killed than uniformed personnel.

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was worked for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

By the way, lest you think I’m a Republican partisan, neither Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention so much as mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan, let alone casualties. That might be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic, given that this is the party that normally falls all over itself, playing up its supposed support for wartime sacrifice.

 Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch | 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 »

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 »

Wade Dill AIG/KBR PTSD DBA Casualty July 16th, 2006

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 15, 2012

After many years of surviving an extremely abusive and Overly Zealous Defense

Wade Dill’s  family was finally provided death benefits under the Defense Base Act

These benefits were recently taken away by the Benefits Review Board when Attorney Bruce Nicholson, who was actively pursuing a settlement with KBR/AIG’s Attorney Michael Thomas, had a contract with the widow, was an attorney with the Law Firm of Peyman Rahnama, was the attorney of record with the BRB, did not as much as respond to the Appeal.

While Bruce Nicholson is the one who apparently purposely abandoned the claim, Michael Thomas and the BRB were more than happy to carry on without notifying the widow that AIG’s appeal of her claim was unopposed.

The man I married was my prince charming.
We had grown up together.
High school sweethearts, we were married 17 ½ years.
I believe that if he had never gone over there he would still be
here today.
Something happened in Iraq.
He committed suicide the morning of July 16th, 2006
He left behind a lot of pain and two ruined lives.
I never dreamed I would be without him
and
my daughter without a father.

Our thoughts are with you today Barb

Posted in AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, 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, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Misjudgements, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, T Christian Miller, Veterans, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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 »

John Kirkland, Civilian Contractor, Fluor, Killed in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 11, 2012

Florida Today  June 8, 2012

American Contractor Killed at Forward Operation Base Salerno

John Kirkland, 55, of Houston, TX, passed away on June 1, 2012, during an attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Son of Jeannine and Gordon, John was born in Atlanta, Georgia on June 16, 1956. He would have been 56 years old on June 16th.

John grew up in Florida, where he lived in Melbourne and Palm Bay. He owned and operated a local stucco business until he moved to Houston in 1998. He lived there before becoming employed in 2006 as a Maintenance Mechanic for KBR, a civilian military contractor.

John’s first job assignment was at a military base located in Iraq in 2006. In May, 2010 he was transferred to a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan named Salerno, where he worked for the civilian military contractor Fluor. He was killed on June 1, 2012 during an attack by the Taliban. His remains will be cremated at Dover Air Force Base.

John is survived by his son, Christopher Ashley Kirkland; and his two brothers, Virgil Eugene Kirkland of Ocala, FL and Douglas Paul Kirkland of Palm Bay, FL; as well as an Aunt and Uncle, Glenda and Eddie McCoy of Mooresville, NC, along with numerous cousins.

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Flour, KBR | Tagged: , , , , | 1 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 »

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 »

Consequences of Pursuit of Profit: All Protected by DBA’s Exclusive Remedy at the expense of the US taxpayer

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 7, 2012

That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died.   Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah.

So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

David Isenberg at PMC Observer

Reduced to its essentials every argument and debate about the use of private military and security contractors comes down to two words; outsourcing and privatization. The argument is simply whether they are good and bad.
Personally I think that, like most other things, the answer is maybe. Hey, if you want absolutes take up physics.

But lately, partly I suppose, in response to the predictable quadrennial Republican party blather about the glories of the free market – cue the inevitable segue into why America needs a purported businessman like Mitt Romney to “fix America” – my repressed academic side has been pondering the pitfalls of privatizing the battlefield.

Before going any further let me acknowledge the contribution and sacrifice of PMSC personnel. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much depended on such an unacknowledged few.

That said, let’s turn to one of the iconic contractor moments of the U.S.involvement in Iraq; the killing of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004.

Last year law professor Arthur J. Jacobson of Yeshiva University publishedan article in the  Cardozo Law Review.   The occasion was a symposium in honor of Paul R. Verkuil, who is on the Cardozolaw school faculty. Verkuil is author of the 2007 book Outsourcing Sovereignty: How Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy And What We Can Do About It.

In his article, Outsourcing Incompetence: An Essay in Honor of Paul Verkuil Jacobson provides some detail regarding that tragic day that is not appreciated by the public.  I realize the following quote is long but it is necessary to appreciate the true impact of what happened.

The four Blackwater employees who were dismembered and mutilated in Fallujah, where they ended up while guarding a convoy, is a grim reminder of how the military must react to contractor actions. The Marines had to secure that city after that gruesome event, which was not in their plans beforehand.

Paul’s conclusion about the Fallujah incident is ineluctable. The Department of Defense, it appears, outsourced to Blackwater a task that it regarded as amenable to outsourcing, rather than as an inherent government function. Were the Department of Defense to offer a justification of this decision, they would argue that providing security to a supply convoy is akin to an ordinary civilian security operation – like night watchmen at a construction site or armed guards accompanying an armored car – and is thus distinguishable from combat, which, as most today would probably agree, is
an inherent government function.  But the reality of a theater in combat does not permit so fine a distinction to be drawn.  The Blackwater employees had necessarily to engage in combat, and their defeat drew the Marines into a combat operation they had neither desired nor planned. Contracting with Blackwater to provide security for convoys thus wound up diverting the United States military from operations they had in fact planned, and calling into question the competence of a military that could so unwittingly be the cause of its own distraction.

Paul’s Blackwater story is bad enough. The real story is worse. I asked Erik Wilson, a captain in the United States Marine Corps and a first-year law student at Cardozo, to look into the Fallujah incident a little more closely. Here is what he found.

The U.S. Army did not hire Blackwater directly. The prime contract, part of the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), was between the Army and Halliburton. It was a contract to supply Camp Ridgeway, an Army base near Fallujah.

Halliburton then subcontracted the supply contract to KBR, and KBR subcontracted it to ESS. It was ESS that hired Blackwater to provide security for the convoys to Camp Ridgeway. Four subcontracts connect, or separate, Blackwater from the ultimate recipient of its services. That looks like an awfully long chain of subcontracts. But things were not so simple.

Let’s start with the top of the chain. It was actually KBR’s predecessor, Brown & Root, and not Halliburton, that had the first LOGCAP contract with the Army. This was back in the 1990s, at the beginning of the LOGCAP program. In 2002, Halliburton created KBR (merging two of its subsidiaries, Brown & Root and M.W. Kellogg), and replaced the former Brown & Root as the prime contractor. Halliburton was thus the prime contractor at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. The LOGCAP contract Halliburton signed at that point, known as LOGCAP III, was the second renegotiation of the initial LOGCAP contract between the Army and Brown & Root. Halliburton’s role under LOGCAP III was only to guarantee KBR’s services, and the Army and other federal auditing agencies dealt directly with KBR, not with Halliburton. Halliburton was involved in LOGCAP III only because it owned KBR. Thus, after Halliburton divested itself of KBR in 2007, KBR once again became the prime contractor in the LOGCAP IV contract, which is just now coming into
effect.

Now let us consider the bottom of the chain. ESS did not hire Blackwater directly. It hired Blackwater through a proxy company, Regency Hotel and Hospital Company of Kuwait. What happened was this: Regency and Blackwater had submitted a joint proposal to replace ESS’s existing private security contractor, Control Risks Group. Once Regency/Blackwater won the contract, they renegotiated it to make Regency ESS’s subcontractor and, in turn, make
Blackwater Regency’s subcontractor. Apparently Blackwater wanted this arrangement so it could get exclusive credit for the successful security operations.

The presence of Regency in the chain is important because a dispute erupted between Blackwater and Regency about the armoring of the vehicles to be used in protecting the convoys. According to Captain Wilson, Blackwater used its
subcontractor status to “blackmail” Regency, saying that Regency now had to provide weapons, armor, and other supplies, and that Blackwater would not supply them. The apparent aim of this strategy was to get Regency either to pay for Blackwater’s supplies or default on their contract, which Blackwater would try to take over at an increased profit once Regency was no longer in the way. Captain Wilson believes that Blackwater probably could not have gotten the security contract on its own and that it teamed with Regency for credibility, then tried to cut Regency out.

Partially as a result of this dispute between Regency and Blackwater over equipment funding, the Blackwater team was extremely underequipped and underprepared for the March 31, 2004, mission in which four Blackwater employees died.

I want to pause here in telling the story to make a comment. Outsourcing government tasks to a firm in the private economy subjects those tasks to the push and pull of the economy. I do not have the illusion, and neither does Paul, that elements of the bureaucracy are without their own motivations and distortions, but when you sign up with the private economy, you agree to participate in the private economy’s motivations and distortions. Let’s be blunt. There was a dispute between Regency and Blackwater over who would pay to armor the security for the convoys. That dispute led to the under-equipment and under-preparation of the security team on which the four Blackwater employees died. Their deaths led the military to launch an invasion of Fallujah. So here it is: A contract dispute led to a major development in a major war of the United States – and that is Paul’s point.

Please go to David’s blog and read the entire post

Posted in Blackwater, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, KBR, Misjudgements, Political Watch, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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