Judge denies request to remove KBR as a defendant in Oregon soldiers’ hexavalent chromium lawsuit

Judge denies request to remove KBR as a defendant in Oregon soldiers’ hexavalent chromium lawsuit

Published: Monday, October 29, 2012, 1:34 PM

By Mike Francis, The Oregonian

Magistrate Judge Paul Papak on Monday denied a request to remove KBR Inc. as a defendant in the case brought by 12 Oregon soldiers who accuse the defense contractor of knowingly exposing them to a carcinogen in southern Iraq in 2003.

Lawyers for defense contractor KBR Inc. asked the federal judge to remove the parent company, KBR Inc., as a defendant in the lawsuit. They note that KBR Inc., wasn’t formed until 2006, three years after the soldiers say the company knowingly exposed them to a carcinogen at a water treatment plant in southern Iraq.

Instead, they said that the entity that worked at the water treatment plant is a division of the company called Kellogg, Brown and Root Services. That is the only “proper defendant,” KBR argued.

The decision could have implications if the jury awards damages to the soldiers. KBR Inc., reported 2011 calendar year revenues of $9.3 billion. Revenues for Kellogg, Brown and Root Services are not broken out, but would be smaller.

Geoffrey Harrison told Papak he understood the ruling, but disagrees with it.

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Continuing coverage of the suit against KBR brought by soldiers of the Oregon National Guard

The ruling means that the soldiers’ lawyers may introduce information about KBR’s corporate finances into the case file. That information may come into play if jurors decide to award damages to the soldiers.

The jury will get the case this week.

— Mike Francis

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