Monday, August 18, 2008

Iraq Injuries Spur Putative Class Action

According to the Fulton County Daily Report, a wrecker driver who was employed in Iraq with Houston-based Kellogg, Brown & Root claims that the company sent him without adequate training.  Here's a brief excerpt of the story:

On Tuesday, his lawyers filed a class action lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia outlining Curtis "Bubba" Coffey's own experiences with the multinational contractor and pointing to several other highly publicized reports of deaths, accidents and sexual assaults allegedly tied to the company. Similar actions have been filed in other court jurisdictions across the nation with mixed results.

The complaint, filed on the same day a Congressional Budget Office report estimated that the United States spent more than $85 billion on contractors in Iraq between 2003 and 2007, targets KBR and nine subsidiaries, describing them as a "sham" and "corporate fiction" designed to "perpetrate a fraud for the direct personal benefit of KBR."

But "our main focus is that KBR is taking American folks, telling them that everyone they'll be working with is skilled, that everyone's trained," said Atlanta attorney E. Adam Webb. "Then they get to Iraq, and there's no training, no experience, people that speak no English -- that's what caused the direct issue here."

According to Webb and details contained in the lawsuit, Coffey, 45, was an experienced tow-truck driver who had earned his "WreckMaster" certification and was hired by KBR to "recover disabled vehicles, including tanks, personnel carriers, jeeps, cars and trucks." He was told that only persons with more than three years of experience would be considered for such employment and that extensive specialized training would be provided. But upon arriving for training at Camp Anaconda in Iraq in February, Coffey was rushed through an "ineffectual" training regimen with "trainers who were often inexperienced themselves," according to the suit.

The case name and number are Coffey v. Kellogg Brown & Root, No. 2008-CV-154929 and is filed in the Fulton County Superior Court.  The article doesn't mention what the class definition is, but from the article itself, it sounds like one that might be subject to CAFA's removal provision.


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