July 14, 2015

Oregon Lawmakers Blast KBR’s Decision to Target Sick Oregon Veterans, Call on Pentagon to End Legal Purgatory

Washington, D.C. –Oregon lawmakers called on the Defense Department to quickly reach a fair settlement with 12 Oregon veterans who were sickened after being exposed to a toxic chemical in Iraq a decade ago. Those Oregon National Guard soldiers were stationed at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq, which was managed by the military contactor KBR.

After a decade of legal wrangling, which included an $85 million award by a Portland jury, an unrelated Supreme Court case resulted in the case being reversed on jurisdictional grounds. Now, KBR is suing those veterans for nearly $850,000 in legal fees.

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader wrote Defense Secretary Ashton Carter today to call for a swift and fair settlement in the case.

“We write to express our outrage that one of your contractors, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), is going after 12 sick veterans as part of the ongoing Qarmat Ali legal battle,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary Carter. “We feel confident that Americans don’t want their tax dollars supporting these scorched-earth tactics and, because the Department of Defense (DoD) may be responsible for KBR’s legal bills, we urge you to exercise your authority, take over this litigation, and bring it to a fair conclusion for all parties.”

Read the full letter here.