If it's not one thing (such as accusations of sexual harassment) with those crazy cats at Kellogg, Brown & Root, it's another.
A lawsuit against the company recently filed in Houston federal court accuses its workers of exposing military and non-military personnel in Iraq to contaminated food, contaminated water, and improperly incinerated human remains. Yeah, that's right. Human remains. Joshua Eller, the principal plaintiff, says he witnessed a wild dog running around base one day carrying a human arm in its mouth.
The first allegation deals with water. According to the lawsuit, KBR provided most of the water used to drink, swim in, or treat the wounded with, and was supposed to monitor and maintain its quality. KBR is accused of failing to test the water and then distributing unsafe, untreated water.
Next there's the spoiled food. Eller alleges KBR served U.S. forces chicken, fish, beef and eggs that were well past their expiration date, causing salmonella poisoning in at least one case. Even when KBR food-service managers were notified that the food had expired, the lawsuit states, KBR still served it. Some of the nourishment, according to the lawsuit, "may have been contaminated with shrapnel, or other materials."
Which bring us to the third allegation in the lawsuit: the incinerator.
KBR "failed to properly maintain and operate the incinerator designed to ensure the safe disposal of medical waste at Baland Air Force base, which operated a busy front-line military hospital," the lawsuit states. "Instead, [KBR] merely dug an open-air burn pit and burned in the open air hazardous medical waste and other waste not appropriate for open air burning."
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Such items allegedly included human body parts.
Eller, a civilian sent to Iraq in February 2006 to support Air Force troops, is the lead plaintiff in this class-action lawsuit. There are one to 1,000 John and Jane Does also represented, and "at least an estimated 100,000 individuals who were exposed to the actions of" KBR, according to the lawsuit.
In addition to recurring skin lesions and stomach pain, according to the lawsuit, Eller also continues to have nightmares of the wild dog with an arm hanging from its mouth.
-- Chris Vogel