“Ill tell you what the public likes more than anything. It’s the rarest commodity in the world-honesty”- Merle Haggard
The Department of Labor actually does something about Defense Base Act abuses? Or too little, too late? What do you think?
According to Propublica, the U.S. Department of Labor has fined The Sandi Group - a defense Base Act contractor - $75,000 for failing to file timely reports on the deaths of workers in Iraq as required by law. According to the report, The Sandi Group delayed telling the Labor department that 30 of its employees had been killed while working for the company between 2003 and 2005, according to the department. Our take is that these deaths were probably security guards which were not reported.
We first had our doubts that this report is true.
Not that we are doubting Propublica (they have done excellent work, working with the LA Times on DBA abuses) - we are doubting the United States Department of Labor.
From what we have seen - the Department of Labor actually doing anything about employer or insurance company abuses of the Defense Base Act is truly amazing. Based upon what we see - - the Department of Labor has largely turned the other way. Which, of course, explains why so many DBA claims are denied again and again. And nothing is done.
If the Department of Labor actually did fine The Sandi Group - - $75,000 hardly seems appropriate. The Sandi Group probably made a LOT more money by not reporting the deaths to begin with. My take is The Sandi Group has profited by not reporting the deaths.
However, we found the following verification of this story buried on the U.S. Department of Labor website:
ORDER GRANTING DIRECTOR’S UNOPPOSED MOTION TO DISMISS
This matter arises under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, (LHWCA), 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq., as extended by the Defense Base Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1651-54. The Director, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, assessed civil penalties against the Employer under Section 30(e) of the LHWCA, for failure to timely file first reports of injury in several cases. The Employer contested the penalties. The case was set for hearing before the undersigned. On January 8, 2013, the Director filed an Unopposed Motion To Dismiss the case. The Director represents that the parties have settled the matter effective December 26, 2012, and that there is no longer any case or controversy between the parties. The Director, therefore, moves for dismissal of the instant matter with prejudice. Good cause having been shown, the Director’s unopposed motion is granted, and this matter is hereby dismissed with prejudice.
The Judges Actual Order.
Who Knows What Really Happened Here?
Of course, there are very few facts revealed in this Order and story. But it sure seems like The Sandi Group got a Christmas present on December 26, 2012. I doubt that the families of the security guards that died celebrated over a $75,000 fine. Not for a company that has made millions and millions and millions. Way to go Department of Labor - - you really hit a home run this time.
Which raises the question? When is the USDOL going to do something about Zurich, Chartis and the like? We are all waiting....
My best advice
My best advice to you is for you to always tell the truth. Always. When bringing a court case, nothing is more important than your credibility. Nothing else is even close. The DBA insurance company lawyer is going to try and make you look like you are lying. If this happens, the Judge will rule against you and you will lose. Bank on it. I know I do.
My second best advice
Which brings me to my second best advice. The problem is that in many instances folks get caught in traps left for them by the DBA insurance company. In other words, they don’t know that they are messing up their case. Happens all the time. Well meaning honest folks get caught in one of the DBA insurance company traps.
Which is why I strongly suggest that you read my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. I wrote the book to help folks like yourself to navigate the complexities of a DBA claim. You can buy it on Amazon, but don't bother, i will send it to you for free, and cover shipping.
My goal is to help folks like you, but you don’t have to believe what I say about it - the book has dozens of 5 Star reviews on Amazon.com.
Also you can check out my podcast at DBAradio.com where i cover important DBA issues.
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