ILNews

Indiana soldiers refile suit against contractors

Jennifer Nelson
April 5, 2010
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Members of the Indiana National Guard have refiled a toxic exposure suit against Texas contractors in a Houston federal court. The suit, originally filed in Indiana federal court in 2008, was dismissed in February for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Nearly 50 members of the Indiana National Guard sued Texas contractors for whom the soldiers provided security at a water treatment facility in Iraq in 2003. They claimed the contractors knew the site was heavily contaminated with sodium dichromate, a toxic chemical that may increase the risk of cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, dismissed the suit in February, finding the soldiers didn't establish that the contractors knew the soldiers intended to return to Indiana after leaving Iraq, and because the injury occurred in Iraq. He also found the contractors' contacts with Indiana weren't sufficient to allow the court to exercise general jurisdiction over them.

The suit was refiled March 31 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. That case is McManaway, et al. v. KBR Inc., et al., No. 4:10-CV-01044.

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

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