It's one of those things that just short-circuits your brain. I'm surprised more advantage wasn't taken of it.
Halliburton is one of the largest energy company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $150,514 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. John Cornyn(R-X) for $10,000. Rep. Cornyn, for his part, has consistently voted with the coal industry on energy, war and climate bills.
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.
"I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
"In law, defamation–also called calumny, libel (for written words), slander (for spoken words)....In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. *
Thune doesn't think it was a misstep. He said the KBR incident was tragic, and anyone guilty of a criminal act against Jones should be "prosecuted to the full letter of the law." But he pointed out that Jones has since won the right to take the issue to court. And Thune contends that the Franken amendment was aimed at a larger goal of providing workers more opportunities to sue their employers.
"It casts a much wider net than the narrower issue of defense contracts," he said. "Trial lawyers are going to push to get more opportunities for litigation and basically ban arbitration in some of these contracts. My vote was based on that issue, not the particulars of her (Jones') situation, which are tragic and being heard in court."
to: (my email redacted for privacy)
date: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 10:07 AM
subject: Responding to your message
Dear Ms. Merriam,
Thank you for taking the time to contact my office about Senator Franken's amendment to the FY2010 Defense Appropriations bill dealing with arbitration. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.
Senator Franken's amendment stemmed from a truly horrible crime committed against Jamie Leigh Jones, an employee of a company performing work in Iraq under a contract with the Defense Department. Please know, this amendment had no impact on law enforcement's ability to pursue criminal prosecution against anyone involved in committing these crimes, and dealt only with the agreements between employers and employees to resolve civil claims in arbitration rather than through litigation. What happened to Ms. Jones in this case is abhorrent and the culprits should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Separate and apart then from any criminal prosecution, Ms. Jones filed several claims in court in a civil suit against the company. The company argued that Ms. Jones could not sue in court because the employee signed an arbitration agreement to bring any claims against her employer to arbitration instead of being tried in court. However, the court ruled in favor of Ms. Jones by nullifying the arbitration agreement as to her claims of (1) assault and battery, (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of the assault, (3) negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of employees involved in the assault, and (4) false imprisonment. The court therefore said that employers can not require that civil claims of sexual assault be resolved through arbitration and that employees like Ms. Jones retain the ability to sue in court.
The Franken amendment sought to codify this court ruling in favor of Ms. Jones by requiring that contractors with the Defense Department exclude those four claims from their employee contract arbitration agreements. However, this amendment went much further than the court ruling by also requiring the exclusion from arbitration agreements of many of the possible employment claims an employee can bring against an employer. First, it is important to note that the Obama Administration opposed the Franken amendment because of its broad application and the problems associated with enforcing it. Rather than a targeted attempt to prevent the types of obstacles that Ms. Jones faced when she fairly sought restitution for the horrific acts that occurred, this amendment went well beyond in an effort to make a sweeping change to existing law among issues that never impacted this employee and that the court never addressed in this case.
I agreed with the court ruling and believe that the civil claims arising out of the sexual assault should not be arbitrated. However, I believe the amendment was too expansive, and went well beyond the situation the amendment was trying to remedy. I believe that arbitration can provide employees with a more efficient and cost-effective avenue for resolving their claims against their employer and I do not believe it should be largely eliminated as an alternative to what is sometimes a very lengthy, contentious, and expensive court process.
Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.
United States Senator
« Older To promote their soon-to-be-released album, In Thi... | William Chace, former universi... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt