By MARY FLOOD Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
Nov. 24, 2009
A Houston judge ruled Tuesday that Halliburton must remain as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging it and its former subsidiary KBR knowingly sent civilian truck convoys into dangerous conditions the day six drivers were killed in 2004 in Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller found that Halliburton should remain in the case because plaintiffs have “numerous evidentiary examples of Halliburton’s involvement in the allegations giving rise to this litigation.”
Miller is considering defense motions to end three cases brought by injured plaintiffs and family members of the dead. The plaintiffs allege that KBR and Halliburton put profit above life in April 2004 when they deployed a convoy knowing about the heightened danger.
Miller previously dismissed the case, ruling that a civilian court could not second-guess military decisions. But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to Miller, saying it may be possible to resolve the lawsuits without making a “constitutionally impermissible review of wartime decision-making.”
Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007. Last January it stated it was paying off its final bill for KBR when it agreed to pay about $560 million to settle a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case involving improper payments to Nigerian officials.
Halliburton has maintained the convoy lawsuits are based on KBR activity in Iraq, and Halliburton will be found to have no responsibility.
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