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Judge clears way for woman's suit against Halliburton, subsidiaries

October 11, 2010, 9:43 am

Associated Press - Houston Chronicle

A federal district judge ruled Friday that a woman who says she was raped by co-workers while employed by a Halliburton Co. subsidiary in Iraq in 2005 can take her claims to trial.

Washington-based attorney Stephanie Morris said her client, Jamie Leigh Jones, is pleased with the decision.

"We are extremely excited we can now go forward and present the case in the public arena and make the public aware of what been going on overseas in Iraq. Halliburton has ratified gross sexual conduct by their failure to act," Morris said.

Jones, a former Conroe resident, filed a federal lawsuit last year saying she was raped by co-workers while working for a Halliburton subsidiary at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005.

The Associated Press usually does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Jones' face and name have been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site.

Attorneys for Halliburton, KBR and other subsidiaries that have been sued have disputed Jones' allegations. KBR split from Halliburton last year.

Halliburton's attorneys argued in March that the employment agreement Jones signed says any claims made by an employee have to be settled through arbitration.

The decision by U.S. Judge Keith P. Ellison says the court will not compel the plaintiff to go to arbitration for her claims related to being assaulted. However, those claims cannot be pursued until other workplace-related claims are arbitrated.

W. Carl Jordan, an attorney for Halliburton, did not immediately return a phone call to his office and an e-mail on Friday night. A company spokeswoman said no one was immediately available to comment.

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