In more legal maneuvering, KBR reacted to fraud and negligence claims concerning Qarmat Ali water treatment plant by filing a motion for summary judgment. The Honorable Paul Papak denied the motion.
KBR professed innocence concerning the fraud allegation by claiming it did not make misrepresentations and did not deceive the Oregon Guardsmen. KBR claimed they did not know sodium dichromate was in the soil at the site until July 2003. The Court found this false. The Court stated “[T]he record provides evidence from which a jury could conclude that KBR intentionally attempted to downplay when it became aware of the presence of sodium dichromate and also when it learned of the potential contamination and hazards associated with the contamination.”
As to negligence, KBR claimed that it owed no duty to inform the men of the risk of sodium dichromate poisoning. The Court found KBR did have a duty to protect members of the US Army and to uphold OSHA standards. The ruling stated “KBR failed to meet the standard of care set forth” thus causing the soldiers damages. The ruling brings the
Veterans claims closer to trial, which is set to begin in Portland, Oregon on October 9, 2012.