Defense firm trades barbs with ex-sub
- By Josh Flory
- Posted October 23, 2012 at 4 a.m.
A lawsuit involving a Kuwaiti company and a Loudon County defense contractor may soon be argued in front of a jury.
It’s been two years since MAKS Inc. General Trading and Contracting Co. filed suit in U.S. District Court against EOD Technology, a firm based in Lenoir City that has done extensive work in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
The case centers on actions that took place during October 2009. MAKS was working as a subcontractor for EODT, which had been hired to provide relocatable buildings for the U.S. military’s use at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.
EODT had also agreed to provide security for MAKS in Afghanistan.
In its suit, MAKS alleged that EODT employees staged a military-style raid on a MAKS compound and stole dozens of building modules from the company.
EODT filed its own countersuit and has argued that MAKS had failed to meet the terms of its contract and that EODT was justified in terminating the subcontract and taking possession of the modules in question.
On Monday, the two parties appeared before U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan in connection with a request by MAKS that it be allowed to file an amended complaint in the case. In rejecting that request, Varlan said it came after a deadline for such requests, and the judge set a trial date for Nov. 13.
Motions filed by the two companies in recent weeks give some indication of the expected contours of the jury trial, though.
In the complaint rejected by Varlan, MAKS alleged that EODT planned the raid under the code name “Operation Midshipman.” MAKS further alleged that EODT agreed to provide security for MAKS even while it had already begun planning the raid to seize the building modules.
The company further alleged that EODT falsely promised to provide MAKS with a steady stream of future work, even as it planned to eventually begin producing modules on its own.
For its part, EODT argued that in seeking to amend its complaint, MAKS was simply trying to “forestall the inevitable judgment against MAKS in the range of $4 million.”
EODT denied that it had intended to take the building modules without payment.
“What is completely lost on MAKS,” EODT said in a filing, “is that had MAKS timely and competently performed, there would have been no need by EODT to get the modules. Operation Midshipman is therefore obviously borne out of necessity.”
Founded in 1987, EODT initially specialized in explosive ordnance disposal but later branched out into other areas and became one of the leading private security contractors for the U.S. government.
The company has faced scrutiny from government officials in recent years. In December 2010, federal agents targeted the company with a raid at its facilities in Lenoir City and Roane County, and the same week a government official indicated the raid was related to EOD Technology’s work in Iraq.
No charges have been filed in connection with that raid.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.