Tuesday, January 20, 2015

US Supreme Court Allows Burn Pit Disease Lawsuit to Go Forward

The US Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of KBR.  Therefore, the case will remain active and will return to the US District Court for further action.

The case is a consolidated action under Federal Multi-District Litigation against government contractors Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Halliburton for alleged harm to military personnel & other individuals caused by exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that were used to dispose of material including medical waste, plastics, paints and pesticides.


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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  has been representing burn pit victims and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Click here to contact us.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

US Supreme Court Conferenced Burn Pit Case

The US Supreme is scheduled to conference the burn pit litigation case pending against KBR and others for alleged negligence in operating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of US military and civilian employee claim medical injuries following from the exposures to dust and fumes and other pollution caused by their operation. 


The Petition for review, filed by KBR, was conferenced by the Court in private session on January 16, 2015. 

The following is an issue analysis shared from scotusblog.com/

13-1241 KBR, Incorporated v. Metzgar

(1) Whether the political question doctrine bars state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor operating in an active war zone when adjudication of those claims would necessarily require examining sensitive military judgments;

(2) whether the Federal Tort Claim Act's “combatant-activities exception,” 28 U.S.C. § 2680(j), preempts state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor that arise out of the U.S. military's combatant activities in a theater of combat; and

(3) whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity bars state-law tort claims against a private contractor performing delegated public functions where the government would be immune from suit if it performed the same functions.

CVSG: 12/16/2014.

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  have been representing injured military, government contractors and civilian government employees and their families who have suffered illness or injury as a result of burn pit exposures. To contact Jon L Gelman click here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Kansas veteran worries exposure to hazardous fumes cause of health problems

Returning veteran's who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have become increasingly concerned over the exposure to environmental pollution that they may have been exposed as a result of the use of burn pits.  Today's post is shared from khi.org/

Four months ago, U.S. Army veteran Brandon Garrison played in an all-day softball tournament, a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

“The tournament was on a Saturday,” Garrison said. “The next day I woke up and I couldn’t walk.”

Garrison, a 28-year-old from Leavenworth, experienced debilitating muscle pain for several days and was hospitalized at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facility. He left with a cane that he was still using last month.

After multiple wartime deployments to Afghanistan as an infantryman and a supply specialist, Garrison has health conditions that are explainable: traumatic brain injury from the concussive blasts of explosives and post-traumatic stress disorder from the strain of combat. But he also has conditions that are harder to explain: nerve twitches, muscle weakness, fibromyalgia, chronic prostatitis, low testosterone.

In researching those symptoms in U.S. soldiers, he came across websites like Burn Pits 360, where other veterans discussed the potential hazards associated with the massive open air burn pits used to dispose of waste at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Garrison used those pits in his supply role. He remembered some of the things that were thrown into them: feces, human remains, the carcasses of diseased animals, batteries, spent ammunition casings, medical waste.

“We were taking used vehicle parts that had transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, things like that and throwing them in these burn pits,” he said. “My job was to turn this stuff in. If it’s unserviceable, we disposed of it. Tires. Paint, I’m sure. Any one of those things, if you burn it stateside, you can get written up for it because it’s a hazard.”


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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  have been representing injured military, government contractors and civilian government employees and their families who have suffered illness or injury as a result of burn pit exposures. To contact Jon L Gelman click here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The US Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court To Deny KBR’s Request for Review

The Solicitor General, on behalf of the US Government, submitted a brief on Dec. 18, 2014 urging Supreme Court to reject the appeal request of defendant KBR in the Burn Pit Litigation case. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held in favor of the military personnel and their families in an action against KBR, and others, for negligently operating burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the brief The US Government recommends that burn pit cases be remanded to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings. The Solicitor General wrote, “…The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied.” 

Cases in the Burn Pit multi-district litigation, KBR Inc. et al. v. Alan Metzgar et al., include personal injury and wrongful death claims by veterans against the military contractor KBR, Inc. in the management and operation of open-air burn pits in active war zones. Read more about burn pit litigation .


Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  have been representing injured military, government contractors and civilian government employees and their families who have suffered illness or injury as a result of burn pit exposures. To contact Jon L Gelman click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Toxic Trash Contamination on US Military Bases

Today's post is share from globalresearch.ca//

America’s military is the world’s greatest polluter. Especially in war theaters. During conflicts. Long after they end. Notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. Toxic wastelands and then some. Large areas unsafe for human habitation. Military operations generate hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste. Dangerous carcinogens. Including depleted uranium, heavy metals, hazardous chemicals, plastics, solvents, asbestos, pesticides, petroleum fuels, fungi, and bacteria. Poisoning air, water and soil. Affecting local populations and US forces. Causing virtually every imaginable health problem. Many longterm. Debilitating. Others potentially fatal. Including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal ailments, kidney and liver diseases, respiratory, skin and other infections, asthma, immune system suppression, ulcers, birth defects, severe headaches, emotional distress, pulmonary problems, sexual dysfunction and chronic diarrhea.

Open-air burn pits as large as 10 acres bear much responsibility. Used to incinerate trash. Notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. State-of-the-art incinerators when used release heavy metals, unburned toxic chemicals and entirely new ones during incineration. Hundreds. Potentially thousands. Many unidentified. Many more toxic than original waste burned. Remaining longterm. Some producing virtual permanent contamination. Once released, traveling vast distances. Via air and water currents. Producing global contaminants.

Affecting food and...
[Click here to see the rest of this post]
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Former VA official: Burn pits could be the new Agent Orange

Today's post ids shared from america.aljazerra.com/

Click here to see video link.
Anthony Thornton has trouble speaking, can’t read anymore and has trouble keeping up with his 3-year-old daughter. He said he doesn’t remember everybody’s name.

Thornton, 35, suffers from a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Doctors had to take out parts of his brain – his temporal lobe and part of his hippocampus.

“I’ve lost a lot, and what I would like to do, I don’t really have that anymore,” said Anthony Thornton. “I don’t like being like this.”

Thornton believes he got sick from toxins he was exposed to from massive, open-air burn pits while serving his country. Burn pits operated on U.S. military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. At the height of the wars, more than 250 bases burned their trash, releasing large plumes of black smoke into the air.

“During the daytime, it was solid black. You could smell it,” he said. “And depending on where the sun was, it was so thick, it would block some of the sun.”

Thornton was a staff sergeant and worked as a prison guard at Camp Bucca in Iraq. He said the smoke from burn pits lingered above his living quarters. He was diagnosed with asthma and bronchitis while he was in Iraq. Three years after he came home, doctors found the tumor.

Kerry Baker is a former Veterans Affairs official who has analyzed the toxins found in burn pit smoke. For three years since he left the agency, he’s been fighting to get the Department of Defense and the VA to recognize that burn pit exposure has sickened veterans.

Click here to see video link.
“Some of them are dying,” Baker said. “We have claims from widows whose [spouses] have died from various types of cancers. We have claims from young guys who just have diabetes or have lymphoma or have leukemia.”

Dr. Craig Postlewaite, the Department of Defense’s top public health official, said they’ve looked at numerous students and found no proven link to burn pits for long-term health effects.

“We know that people are sick, we’re really trying to do our best to determine if burn pits are responsible,” Postlewaite said.

The Department of Defense and, by extension, the Department of Veterans Affairs do not acknowledge that toxic exposures from burn pit smoke could have sickened servicemembers. That’s left veterans like Thornton fighting for compensation and recognition that they believe is owed to them.

As a result of the lobbying efforts of advocacy groups like, Burn Pits 360, the VA started an online registry for people who feel they are sick from burn pits.

After opening in June, 25,000 people have signed up so far.

But Baker says the registry doesn’t go far enough and that DOD and the VA need to recognize the illness people are suffering due to burn pit smoke.

“I think it absolutely could be this generation’s Agent Orange,” Baker said.
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Did 'Burn Pits' leave Iraq War Vets with life-altering illnesses?

Did 'Burn Pits' leave Iraq War Vets with life-altering illnesses?
December 1, 2014
Susan Burke, a lawyer who is representing some of the troops, explains.....

Click here to view the entire report.

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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