Defense Base Act Workmans Compensation

License to Kill
"Exclusive Remedy"

Why the Defense Base Act is a license for Contract Companies to get away with murder
Suit against Blackwater over contractor deaths moves to arbitration

Thanks to some high-stakes legal maneuvering, Blackwater USA may yet manage to avoid a public
examination of the bloody event that catapulted the company to worldwide attention and changed the
course of the Iraq war.

After appealing unsuccessfully all the way to the Supreme Court, Blackwater now appears to have
found another way to derail what promised to be a landmark lawsuit brought by the families of four
security contractors killed in a convoy ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.

This week, on orders of a federal judge, the dispute is scheduled to be taken up out of court by a
three-man panel of arbitrators.

By steering the case into arbitration, Blackwater has shifted a legal showdown over issues of battlefield
accountability and presidential authority into a non judicial arena where the proceedings occur behind
closed doors and the outcome is confidential.

One of the three arbitrators is William Webster, a Reagan-era director of the FBI
and CIA with personal and business ties to several Blackwater lawyers.
As with workers comp, one of the cornerstones of the coverage is that
the DBA is the employee's
exclusive remedy.
In other words, it is an employee's only legal redress in the event of
injuries or illnesses.

However, in workers comp, there are generally some exceptions, although the window
for such exceptions is pretty narrow. Some states allow an employee to pierce the
exclusive remedy shield if "willful intent" of injury can be proven or if there was
substantial certainty that an injury would have been likely to occur. The burden of proof
is on the employee, and courts usually require something more that goes beyond the
realm of mere negligence - the employer's actions need to be quasi criminal.
From Workmans Comp Insider

Defense Base Act Workmans Compensation takes away even this slight chance
for recovery due to negligence
Congressional Research Service
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
go to report
The Defense Base Act (DBA) requires that many federal government
contractors and subcontractors provide workers’ compensation insurance for their
employees who work outside of the United States.
Under the provisions of the
DBA, overseas federal military and public works contractors are subject to the same
workers’ compensation rules, including the same insurance requirements and same
schedules of benefits for affected workers, as maritime firms covered by the
Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).
DBA insurance is provided by private companies or through self-insurance and the DBA
program is administered (poorly) by the Department of Labor (DOL).
Like all workers’ compensation systems, the DBA provides no-fault coverage and is an
exclusive remedy to injured workers.
Injured workers and the survivors of workers killed on the job are entitled
to benefits for employment-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths regardless of fault
and are not permitted to sue their employers or the federal government for any types
of damages caused by employment-related incidents.