Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jamie Leigh Jones & Arbitration Fairness

Jamie Leigh Jones is taking Halliburton to arbitration. Jones served as a contractor for KBR/Halliburton at Camp Hope. She was drugged and raped by an unknown number of men. Jones' father called Rep. Ted Poe to rescue Jones from her own employers.

"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer.

Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.

Jones' contract forbids her from suing Halliburton or KBR in court. State Department rules, during the Bush administration, exempts contractors from being prosecuted of crimes committed in Iraq.

Jones was recently interviewed by on All Things Considered how Halliburton is using arbitration. The difficulty with arbitration is employees rarely win against their employers. Information about the rulings is not made public. Arbitration was designed to protect corporations. The little guy doesn't even enter into the equation.

Arbitration is a closed, private process, often with little or no written record. But one state, California, changed its law to require that arbitration results be publicly recorded. Public Citizen staff reviewed 34,000 California cases, and Arkush says the results speak volumes.

"Overall, consumers lost 94 percent of the time," he says.

The arbitration industry disputes that number. But it does not disagree that corporations win more of the time. The disagreement is about whether this is evidence of bias or a reflection that corporations bring stronger cases.

Mike Kelly, spokesman for the National Arbitration Forum — one of the country's largest arbitration firms — says it's the latter.

"You're not going to bring a case that you're going to lose," he says. "Frankly, you're not going to bring a case that you think you have a chance to lose."

A judge ruled Jones is allowed to take her case to court. There are many other female contracters that have been sexually assaulted. Their legal options are less certain.

"Unfortunately, my case is not an isolated incident," she said Tuesday. "With the misuse of arbitration, we have made corporate entities in this country above the law."

Rep. Hank Johnson is sponsoring the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009. Jones has endorsed the bill. Russ Feingold has introduced an arbitration reform bill in the Senate.

Jones spoke in Washington for the Abitration Fairness Act.

Transcript of Jones' speech.

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At June 21, 2009 3:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight- she was offered an alcholic drink when she was 20? Hmm...i know that rape is much more serious than underage drinking, but give me a break! She KNEW she shouldnt have had that drink. this whole mess could have been preveted from the start

At June 21, 2009 4:43 AM , Blogger Tom said...

What a cynical view. So raping woman is ok. Jamie needs assistance not adverse criticsm.

In my culture woman are seen as sacred. They are the beginning and ending of all things -cradle to the grave, the are the beginning of genealogy.

What is lacking is human empathy. Finally I wonder what would happen if you were sodimised or raped

Tom Hemopo
New Zealand

At June 21, 2009 8:25 AM , Anonymous rjp11459 said...

Anonymous are you for real you think her having a drink is the issue? This is an embarresment for all decent men. There is no excuse for rape ever let alone a gang rape. Even worse is the company she works for it is prob. owned by a man is one sick individ. what is wrong with people that we think this behavior is ok

At June 21, 2009 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's great,
accept a job and sign away your rights to the legal system (as they know these issues are real and extreme) simultaniously!
how lucky we are to have a major war erupt and we have just the company to support it! cheney sells (on paper) his ownership to become the vice president, he starts a war that 25% of the cost is spent on his company and his company gets government immunity!
conspiracy theory? hardly, just look at the checks we're writing to haliburton. and look at this case and how there are no ethics practiced (kinda sounds like the practices of a few people that used to run this country doesn't it?). watch for honorary board memberships in the next year for bush and cheney and follow the money (paybacks for flooding the pockets of their friends) i'm not a democrat but i despise what the republicans did to this country.
there is no excuse for rape, nor the coporate support and endorsement of it.

At June 21, 2009 11:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

BUT, what is the legal drinking age in the country that she is in? I am betting it is lower than 21 which makes it legal what she did.

At June 21, 2009 12:30 PM , Blogger wm in phoenix said...

Anonymous, here is a clue. Iraq is a Muslim country. The Koran (our Bible equivalent) strictly forbids the use of alcohol and tobacco. No booze, no drinking age.
The cowboys who work for these companies sneaks the booze in, insulting the Muslim laws. Similar to me going in to a Kosher restaurant and asking for a glass of milk with my meal. Anon., you might not understand the analogy.
Treat people like s**t and they will respond in kind, hence IED,s
Remember: Dick Cheney is Satan!

At June 21, 2009 2:35 PM , Anonymous Jessie said...

the thing it is could have even been a galss of water there is no excuse for a man to drug a woman.and then gang rape her what if it was your daughter,neice,sister.. anonymous??
then you would be thinking different now wouldnt you..THERE IS NO EXCUSE....i hope the court throw these guys in prison and the guys in prison dont like men who rape woman..i hope this woman
remains strong..god bless her..


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