Columnist mocks a trial, access to justice
Jamie Leigh Jones is a former employee of defense contractor KBR, who, following an incident in Baghdad, Iraq, sued her employer alleging negligence, assault and battery arising from a gang-rape, negligent hiring, retention and supervision and false imprisonment. However, Jones’ employment contract included a clause requiring employment-related claims into arbitration, which would deny the use of a public judge, jury or right to appeal.
KBR fought for years to force Jones into arbitration, even appealing the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. After learning of Jones’ case, Congress passed a law that bars defense contractors from forcing employees with sexual assault claims into arbitration. KBR dropped the appeal. After more than five years of trying to get to court, Jones’ claims were heard by a jury this summer. Jones lost her trial, but her ordeal to exercise a basic right to access the civil justice system should be remembered by the millions of employees and consumers who face a similar obstacle.
Last month, a Wall Street Journal columnist made light of Jones’ trial and forced arbitration. (subscription req’d). The Journal on Friday published letters responding to the column.
Here’s another story about the impact of Jones’ case.