Lawsuit against Blackwater proceeds “by grace”
The jury trial in the civil lawsuit against Blackwater (now Xe Services), “hangs by a thread,” U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III stated, after throwing out several claims against the company. The case was initially brought in 2008 under the False Claims Act by Melan Davis, a former Blackwater employee. The government chose not to intervene in the matter and Ms. Davis proceeded to bring the case on her own. Davis, who is suing for an unspecified amount, claims the company overbilled for labor and travel expenses while they provided protection to State Department workers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, Davis alleges Blackwater created phony invoices, knowingly double-billed for flights in and out of Iraq, and billed for contractors whose travel records showed they were not in the same country where they were supposedly working.
For their part, Blackwater contends that Ms. Davis misunderstood the spreadsheets that track when contractors are in or out of a certain country. Additionally, the alleged double-billing occurred when some contractors genuinely missed flights as a result of uncontrollable and unstable conditions in Iraq.