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Wyden calls for investigation into ‘excessive’ expenses by legal team for KBR

oregonlive Wyden calls for investigation into excessive expenses by legal team for KBR

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Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 2:37 PM
By The Oregonian

Ron Wyden Letter1 Wyden calls for investigation into excessive expenses by legal team for KBR

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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is calling for the Department of Defense to investigate “excessive” expenses of the legal team of defense contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root, granted special indemnity for its contract in Iraq.

Wyden’s sharply worded letter sent Wednesday to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta comes after recent investigations into KBR’s legal team uncovered costs that included attorneys bills of $750 per hour, numerous first-class flights and paying one expert more than $500,000 for testimony and consultation who admitted billing for time spent sleeping.

A lawsuit against KBR was brought by a group of Oregon Army National Guard  assigned to provide security in 2003 for KBR personnel claims KBR management knew that the soldiers were being exposed to carcinogenic chemicals while working at a water treatment plant in Qarmat Ali.

The Pentagon legally covers dozens of military contractors doing dangerous jobs at home, such as making anthrax vaccine or disposing of mustard gas. The details of the immunity emerged in 2010 in a court case in Portland. It releases KBR from all financial liability for misconduct and allows KBR to pass all legal costs to the U.S. government.

“Essentially, KBR was handed a blank check with the Pentagon’s signature, and it seems clear to me that they intend to run up the bill as much as possible before cashing that check,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

Under KBR’s contract, the government has the ability to direct KBR’s legal defense and require it to settle with Oregon Guard, according to Wyden.

– The Oregonian

Short URL: http://kbrlitigation.com/?p=2534

Posted by Doyle Raizner llp on May 26 2012. Filed under Oregon Live. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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