Jamie Leigh Jones Gets Her Day in Court (Thank You, Al Franken!)
Business Insider Law Review reports what Ms. Jones told the court:
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 ot 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.
Because of an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act, which Al Franken wrote and sponsored, and that was passed by Congress (68-30, including the votes of 10 brave and principled Republicans), Ms. Jones’s former employer, KBR Services (a subsidiary of Halliburton), backed down from its insistence that Jones’s allegations had to be arbitrated within the company rather than litigated in court:
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’ 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, KBR withdrew its appeal on March 11.
Why? Sen. Al Franken! Franken successfully advocated a prohibition that keeps contractors receiving federal defense funds from forcing employees to arbitration to resolve certain claims, including civil rights and harassment disputes.
Now that Jones has won this enormous victory, thanks in large part to the Senate’s (at the time) newest member, I think it’s important to remember how the right reacted when the news of her gang rape and brutal post-rape treatment became public:
Rightwing bloggers, to their eternal (lack of) shame, immediately rallied around Dick Cheney’s old firm. “Too perfect” wrote the Jawa Report and Flopping Aces, “very convenient” wrote Ace of Spades. PJM’s Bob Owens wrote an entire post suggesting by innuendo that Jamie was making the whole thing up then tried to defend himself in Newshogger comments.
Maybe now, some of those bloggers who took Halliburton’s side over Jones’s (dare we hope for all?) will redeem themselves by supporting her when her case comes to trial.