A judge has ordered a former KBR Inc. employee to pay $145,000 of the company's court costs after she lost her lawsuit alleging she was drugged and raped while working in Iraq.
A federal jury in Houston had ruled for KBR and against Jamie Leigh Jones after her civil trial in July. KBR had asked U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison to award $2 million in legal fees and court costs against Jones, but Ellison approved only the court costs on Monday.
Earlier this year, we shared a video detailing Perry's "Loser Pays" tort reform law. We also covered the rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, a woman who alleged she was gang raped and held captive while working for KBR in Iraq. (You can read more details here).
KBR contended that her allegations were shrouded in exaggeration and her story did not match the evidence they did have, and they won the lawsuit.
At the very least, this discourages people from using the court system in legitimate cases. If an employer fires a woman for being pregnant, and she sues and loses, she's out of a job AND liable for legal fees and court costs. This law removes practical access to justice for the poor. Even if a case is legitimate, someone without money for a high-priced lawyer can have mediocre representation, and when facing giant conglomerates with unlimited cash, many people may choose to not sue. Of COURSE corporations like this law!
When Governor Perry signed this into law, he said "This important legislation will help make Texas that much more attractive to employers seeking to expand or relocate from countries all over the world by allowing them to spend less time in court and more time creating jobs."
I hope Texans will consider voting for representatives who intend to repeal this law next session. The pursuit of economic prosperity with disregard to the pursuit of justice can only lead to the further degradation of civil rights.