Jamie Leigh Jones claims she was raped by fellow Halliburton employees when she was working in Iraq in 2005.Her allegations are not pretty — she claims she was given a drink, after which she remembers nothing. In legal filings and Congressional testimony, Slate noted, she said she woke up to find “her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured and her pectoral muscles torn‚ which would later require reconstructive surgery.” Parts of the rape kit handed over to KBR by the Army hospital have disappeared and she said that, after visiting the Army hospital, she was placed in a shipping container under armed guard for 24 hours.
Jones employment contract with Halliburton (now known as KBR) contained an arbitration clause that required “any and all personal injury claims” to be heard by an arbitrator. Jones eventually refused to arbitrate, wanting her lawsuit to be heard in court.
The Fifth Circuit eventually held that some of Jones’s claims did indeed belong in court because the assault was not related to her employment. KBR had appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but, after initial briefing, withdrew its appeal on March 11.
Why? Sen. Al Franken! Franken successfully advocated a prohibition that keeps contractors receiving federal defence funds from forcing employees to arbitration to resolve certain claims, including civil rights and harassment disputes.
KBR spokesperson Heather Browne told the Blog of the Legal Times that the withdrawal was in fact related to the Franken amendment. Though they said they believe “that the language of the amendment is broad and vague,” they did not wish to run afoul of it.
Jones’s attorney said they are now preparing for trial.
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