ILNews

Oregon verdict may have impact on Indiana Guardsmen’s KBR suits

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A federal jury verdict last week awarded 12 Oregon soldiers $85 million for illnesses linked to a military contractor that knowingly exposed them to toxic chromium dust in Iraq. The result could have implications for 60 similarly situated Indiana National Guard members who are awaiting their day in court.

The verdict returned in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon found military contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root acted with “reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety, and welfare” of U.S. soldiers. The troops were stationed at a water treatment plant at Qarmat Ali, Iraq in 2003, according to a statement from Cohen & Malad LLC, one of three firms representing the Oregon soldiers in Rocky Bixby, et al., v. KBR, Inc., et al, 3:09-CV-632-PK.

The Indiana Guardsmen of the 1-152 Infantry Battalion are among about 150 other soldiers who have sued claiming they were sickened by the carcinogen sodium dichromate, an orange powder the troops noticed while guarding the water facility that KBR was hired to rehabilitate. According to the statement from Cohen & Malad, the suits allege that KBR said the powder was a mild irritant after guardsmen complained of symptoms such as severe nosebleeds, difficulty breathing and debilitating headaches.

Soldiers have since suffered worsening health problems including cancer, and two have died, the statement said.

The Indiana Guardsmen’s complaint is included in McManaway, et al., vs. KBR, Inc., et al., 4:10-CV-01044, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT