Congratulations to Shelley Federico and the fearless military wives of Norfork, Virginia. They’ve fought and won the right to have their day in court to protect the health and safety of their families from negligence by federal contractors.
September 25th NewsChannel 3 WTKR Norfolk, Va. ~ VIDEO
“It was a major win for military families today in Norfolk Federal Court. Dozens are suing Lincoln Military Housing [LMH] after a NewsChannel 3 taking action investigation brought to light moldy living conditions.
After months of waiting, these families got the final word that their lawsuits against Lincoln will be going to trial, giving them their day in court.
Back in May, Lincoln filed a motion to dismiss, trying [every trick in the book including attacking WTKR] to get a judge to throw all the cases out. The company felt they had immunity from any lawsuits, since they were working on behalf of the Navy to provide housing for these families.
But Judge Robert Doumar didn’t agree.
According to his ruling, the families can sue Lincoln for negligence and breach of contract, which lets them claim that their exposure to mold not only caused harm to their personal belongings, but also to their health.
The potential damages could reach into the millions, and lawyers for the families say even more lawsuits are planned for others who they say have been wronged by Lincoln.
Two years after NewsChannel 3 started investigating, this case takes another big step forward.” (See WTKR VIDEO newscast)
According to the Washington Post, WTKR and reporter Laurie Simmons won an Emmy in 2012 for their ongoing coverage of LMH’s lack of regard for the health and safety of the children of our troops living in substandard conditions.
In the early 2000’s, the United States government began outsourcing the overseeing of military housing to private sector contractors such as LMH. Many military families across the U.S. have claimed injury from substandard housing conditions.
This case is significant on many levels. Not the least of which is the finding that federal contractors do not have immunity for negligence, breach of contract, etc.
In the past decade, an increasing number of private sector contractors have been given control of federal and state services to the public. Please visit Center for Media & Democracy’s new web portal “Outsourcing America Exposed” for more on this subject of growing concern.
And see research by JoEllen Perez (mold injured former employee of a CDC federal contractor) and Sharon Kramer, author of this post, “CDC, The Outsourcing of Environmental Medicine“. In 2007, this report was provided to the Federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) in conjunction with a federal audit of the mold issue ordered by the late Senator Edward Kennedy in 2006. The GAO designated the matter “closed – implemented” in 2012. In reality, little to nothing was accomplished for the public’s protection or to curtail the conflicts of interests over the mold issue by federal contractors and their lobbyists.