Cheney Justice?

On Wednesday, Jamie Leigh Jones told a House Judiciary Committee her now-famous story about having been allegedly drugged and gang-raped two years ago by several coworkers shortly after arriving in Iraq as a contractor for KBR, an engineering and construction firm contracted with the military to provide logistical support to the troops. Jones’ story has prompted widespread outrage, partly because the Justice Department and the military failed to prosecute her attackers, but also because it appears that Jones can’t sue KBR for placing her in harm’s way.

When Jones went to work for KBR in Texas, and later for its subsidiary, Overseas Administrative Services, she signed contracts containing mandatory binding arbitration clauses, which required her to give up her right to sue the companies and any right to a jury trial. Instead, the contracts forced Jones to press her case through private arbitration, which she did in 2006. In that forum, the company that allegedly wronged her pays the arbitrator who is hearing the case. For that she can thank Dick Cheney.

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