Tags: Afghanistan, average weekly wage, compensation rate, Defense Base Act, DOL, informal conference, Iraq, OWCP, workers comp benefits
I had an Informal Conference today. For those of you who have not gotten to this stage yet, an Informal Conference is your opportunity to discuss a problem you are having with your claim with the District Office of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The conference is normally held by telephone and involves the claimant (you) or your attorney, the insurance carrier (or its attorney) and a claims examiner from the OWCP. There is no special method required to request the conference. A letter from one of the parties identifying an issue to the District Office where you claim is pending is all that is required. Even though the conference sounds, like its name, informal, it is a very important part of the process.
Getting back to my conference, one of the issues was average weekly wage (AWW). Generally, AWW is calculated by first determining if the claimant worked substantially the whole year prior to the injury. If so, was this work with the same employer or, at least, similar employment? If so, the wages are simply calculated, divided by 52 and an AWW is determined. There are several problems which rear their ugly heads, such as: what constitutes “substantially the whole year” and what type of job qualifies as “similar employment”. According to cases decided under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act (LHWCA), 37 weeks is the benchmark for the term “substantially the whole year”. Therefore, if you have worked 37 out of the last 52 weeks, you may qualify.
Iraq Contractor KBR Has Dodged $500 Million in U.S. taxes March 10, 2008Posted by Aaron Walter in Uncategorized.
Tags: Defense Base Act, Iraq, KBR, Service Employers International, Shell Corporations, Taxes, U.S. Contractors
Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) sure is a piece of work. Lets recap a week or so of posts concerning KBR.
1. KBR has been passing along to the American taxpayer, AIG’s inflated premiums for Defense Base Act coverage, so that KBR (and other contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan) could be insulated from liability for injuries to its employees.
2. KBR is presently being sued in Federal Court for allegedly intentionally causing the deaths of six KBR truck drivers in 2004.
3. Now we discover that the 10,000+ Americans working for KBR, were really working for a Caribean company, not an American one, saving KBR as much as $100 million a year in U.S. Medicare and Social Security Taxes. By claiming its own employees, many of which were hired in Texas and shipped directly to Iraq from there, to be employees of the Cayman Islands corporation Service Employers International Inc, KBR also avoids having to pay for unemployment insurance. That means KBR employees coming home from Iraq are ineligible to recieve unemployment. I bet that wasn’t part of the orientation movie. I also bet it wasn’t part of the pitch to the Department of Defense before they were granted a no-bid contract for work in Iraq.
Tags: Defense Base Act, Fisher v. Halliburton, Good Friday Massacre, Halliburton, Iraq, Jurisdiction, KBR, Tort, U.S. Contractors
The sad back story of this court case has come to be known as the “Good Friday Massacre.” Friday, April 9, 2004, hundreds of insurgents attacked a KBR convoy, killing 6 civilian drivers, injuring 14, and leaving another driver still missing to this day.
To make a long story short, KBR a former subsidiary of Halliburton has been accused of knowing that this particular convoy would be attacked, but sent these civilians into the firefight in a risky attempt to pad its bill to the Department of Defense. However, the factual arguments are on hold while a bitter fight ensues concerning jurisdictional questions.
The case, titled Fisher v. Halliburton, 454 F. Supp. 2d 637 (S.D. Tex. 2005), brings up a rarer situation than most Defense Base Act cases. The plaintiff(s) here allege that the Defense Base Act does not bar a traditional tort suit in federal court because the defendant, KBR, intentially harmed the injured and deceased drivers. The plaintiff is right, and though difficult to prove, this is a common exception in most workers’ compensation schemes, including the Defense Base Act and even the state laws here in Georgia.