Tuesday, December 11, 2007
As the documents below make clear, the case was initially filed in arbitration and then in the Southern District of Texas; the arbitration has been stayed pending a decision on the motion to compel arbitration in federal court. The plaintiffs acknowledge that Jones's employment agreement requires arbitration in at least some circumstances; they argue alternatively that the agreement is invalid and that it does not apply to this case.
A few documents of interest:
The complaint: Download leighcomplaint.pdf
The motion to compel arbitration: Download KBRCompel.pdf
Jones's opposition to the motion to compel arbitration: Download LeighOpposition.pdf
As the PIRG blog points out, there's pending legislation that would narrow the scope of arbitration provisions greatly, focusing on arms-length commercial transactions and not (probably) suits like this one.
Update: In the comments, Ted points out that much of the case file is available for free on Justia. I could've avoided the PACER charges! Curses! He also notes that the arbitration complaint's allegation vary fairly significantly from the complaint in district court, and that Jones's lawyer did some fairly transparent forum shopping. And finally, he notes that Halliburton is a defendant though Jones didn't work for Halliburton; she did, however, work for a Halliburton subsidiary. (Halliburton divested KBR earlier in 2007, well after the events in question.) Obviously there may be corporate veil issues, but it doesn't seem crazy to list Halliburton as a defendant.
(Later addition: In a second comment, Ted notes that the complaint merely alleges alter ego and says it won't fly. He may be right; though I've been involved in litigation in which another Halliburton subsidiary was also involved, I don't remember much about how separate its subsidiaries really are. Without knowing more, it's hard to have much of a view besides "still not crazy" on including Halliburton as a defendant. Certainly helps get press.)
Update 2: The third amended complaint (which I somehow missed the first time through the docket) is here: Download Leigh3rdComplaint.pdf