Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nightmare in Iraq for Halliburton Employee Disclosed by Fifth Circuit Opinion

From the Fifth Circuit Civil News, the following harrowing story:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit published the following on Tuesday, September 15: Jones v. Halliburton Co., No. 08-20380 (5th Cir. Sept. 15, 2009) (Barksdale, DeMoss and Stewart): Jones's lawsuit alleged that she, a Halliburton employee working in Baghdad, "was drugged, beaten and gang-raped" by co-workers in her company-provided housing.

The district court granted in part Halliburton's motion to compel arbitration; it denied the motion to the extent of Jones's claims for assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of the alleged attack; negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of the alleged attackers; and false imprisonment.
So what happened on appeal?

The District Court ordered that litigation of the employee's non-arbitrable claims be stayed until completion of the arbitration. Halliburton appealed the partial denial. Holding: Affirmed and remanded. The scope of the arbitration agreement was determined by the Federal Arbitration Act and its case law, not by the Texas Arbitration Act (though it was otherwise governed by Texas law); thus, a TAA limitation on arbitrability of personal injury claims did not apply. The scope of the agreement extended to employment-related claims, but that provision "certainly stops at Jones's bedroom door"; it also extended to personal injury claims that arose in or about the workplace, but there was "very persuasive" evidence that Halliburton "did not consider the barracks to be a 'workplace.'"

What does this mean in terms of legal tactics? Halliburton's attempt to defend the case -- saying their barracks weren't part of the workplace -- will result in the assaulted employee getting a jury trial instead of arbitration on that claim.

But what's most important, and most disturbing, is that this major Federal contractor, with its well-known ties to former Vice President Cheney, failed its employee twice -- once, when it couldn't keep her safe, and second, when it failed to take responsibility for her injuries.

So: where are all the Republican Senators and Congress-folk who are clamoring for a review of ACORN? Are they also pushing for a review of THIS Federal contractor?

Don't hold your breath waiting to see that happen.

Here's the full Fifth Circuit opinion:



Reasonably Prudent Person said...

I don't think Dick Cheney was present for the rape. Are we trying to be a sensationalist?

Kingfish said...

Why don't you try googling the story?

ABC and Fox covered it.,2933,316518,00.html

Reasonably Prudent Person said...

Point I was trying to make is that Haliburton is a big company. KBR was a subsidiary. I highly doubt Dick Cheney had anything to do with this specific incident. Craig throws that fact in there to make Cheney look bad (I know, he already looks bad enough) and to make a political point. I have more respect for this blog for stupid little pot luck shots to be taken.

Kingfish said...

I wasn't addressing you but the author of the post.

Jim Craig said...

I think you're missing my point, RD. Haliburton and its former sub, KBR, had the best possible connections to the Bush Administration. KBR alone has been paid over 80 billion dollars for its work in Iraq. Of that sum, more than $80 million was paid in bonuses for contracts to install electrical wiring in Iraq. The award payments were for the very work that resulted in the electrocution deaths of US soldiers.

So my point is: where is the Republican hand-wringing about the public fisc that we're seeing in the health care debate, or the concern about the propriety of public contractors that we're seeing in the ACORN debate?

The answer: silence.

Michael Freeman said...

And don't forget, the KBR-Halliburton contracts were NO BID CONTRACTS! Nice of the Government to take care of their peeps like that.

Kingfish said...

The reason why Halliburton gets some of their no-bid contracts is that there were only a FEW, if any, companies that do what they do. Same thing with the Shaw Group. Alot of jobs they do they simply do not have any competitors or American ones.

Factcheck, the liberals favorite website, dealt with some of this.