An Oregon federal jury awarded $85 million to 12 Oregon Nation Guard soldiers who were exposed to a toxic chemical while providing security for Kellogg, Brown and Root contractors at an Iraqi water treatment plant.
The company was found negligent and each soldier will receive $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages. Here's the kicker, though: according to KBR's contract at the time, the government is on the hook for any damages paid, and not the company.
The soldiers, represented in part by Houston's Michael Doyle, Jeffrey Raizner and Patrick Dennis of Doyle Raizner LLP, were exposed to in 2003 to a carcinogen found in sodium dichromate, which was once used as anti anti-corrosive at the Qarmat Ali water injection facility. Based on internal KBR memos, the company had covered up its knowledge of the chemical's presence at the site, and waited months before taking action, by which time the soldiers were already experiencing symptoms.
Doyle stated in a press release that "This verdict is an important step toward obtaining justice for the U.S. and British military personnel who face serious health problems and uncertainty because of KBR's negligence at Qarmat Ali. This jury gave these war veterans and their families what KBR would not -- justice and respect for their service to our nation."
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About 150 more claims are pending against in KBR in Houston and Portland federal courts.