The Oregon Qarmat Ali Vets’ case, Bixby v. KBR, continues. A group of 12 of these veterans won a stunning $85 million verdict against KBR for toxic harms suffered in Iraq at a KBR- contaminated site. After the verdict, and while the case was on KBR’s slow-track appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued, Walden v. Fiore, an opinion in an unrelated case that changed the rules of jurisdiction. When the case came before the Ninth Circuit, it remanded the case because jurisdiction was improper.
And then KBR filed a claim for costs against these veterans, seeking approximately $850,000 from 12 sick vets who provided KBR with security. KBR got paid handsomely for its war-time work on a no-bid contract. KBR is seeking to have the United States indemnify it for all costs in these lawsuits. And even so–after winning on a technicality–KBR is now seeking to bankrupt these vets.
There are countless horror stories involving our vets. And this is one more. They served. They were sent. They did their jobs. They sacrificed. And now this.
It is perhaps too much to hope that anyone will care. And that is the point of this post. Thanks are due to members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation: Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, Rep. Blumanauer, Rep. Schrader, Rep. Bonamici, and Rep. DeFazio did Oregon proud when they wrote this Ltr Or Cong to DOD 15 July 2015 letter to the Department of Defense, blasting KBR and calling on the Department of Defense to take over these cases and resolve them equitably.
“These veterans deserve better***.” I couldn’t agree more.