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Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll partner Agnieszka Fryszman read the Chicago Tribune‘s 2005 “Pipeline to Peril” series on a friend’s recommendation. The stories by reporter Cam Simpson told the disquieting tale behind the 2004 kidnapping and execution of 12 Nepalese men in Iraq. Labor recruiters had promised the men jobs in Jordan but instead shipped them off to Daoud & Partners, a subcontractor of Halliburton subsidiary KBR, in Iraq. They were bound for a U.S. military base when a group of insurgents ambushed their unprotected caravan. Simpson’s reporting uncovered a “pipeline” of cheap and often forced labor that drew from Third World countries and plumbed into U.S. military bases in Iraq. “You guys should do something,” Fryszman’s friend told her. She did: On April 4, a judge ordered Daoud’s insurer to pay the spouses of three of the slain men about $100,000 each — “enough for the families to get their farms back,” Fryszman says. She expects similar orders for the parents of six other men soon. Fryszman and Cohen Milstein associate Matt Handley, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, used his contacts to find the families of the slain men. The lawyers then filed death benefit claims with the U.S. Department of Labor for the families of the nine men who were eligible. Daoud disputed the claims, denying that the Nepalis had ever worked for the company. By a stroke of luck, Handley says, they found a Nepali in Iraq who still had his copy of his contract with Daoud. That was proof enough for Administrative Law Judge Larry Price, who gave Daoud’s insurer, CNA International, 10 days to hand over the money, after which a 20 percent penalty would be assessed. Roger Levy of Laughlin, Falbo, Levy & Moresi in San Francisco, who represents Daoud, says the company will not appeal the orders.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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