Trials & Litigation

Company Wins Court Costs But Not Attorney Fees From Employee Over Rape Claim

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A woman who unsuccessfully sued her employer for a rape a jury concluded never occurred must pay the company’s court costs but not its attorney fees, a judge has held.

Houston federal judge Keith Ellison ruled Monday that KBR is entitled to $145,000 in court costs from former employee Jamie Leigh Jones for the trial that ended in July, the Houston Chronicle reported.

But Ellison denied the company’s request for more than $2 million in attorney fees, saying that Jones’ suit, however flawed, was neither frivolous nor brought in bad faith.

“The fact that Jones presented prima facie claims of sexual harassment and hostile work environment highlights the impropriety of an award of attorneys’ fees in this case,” the judge said.

Jones, a former IT worker at KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, sued the company in 2007 in connection with a rape she alleged took place at the hands of another employee in her barracks room shortly after her arrival in Iraq in 2005.

But a jury held in July that Jones and the other employee had engaged in consensual sex, the Chronicle reported at the time.

Jones’ attorney, Todd Kelly, could not be reached for comment. He had previously called KBR’s request for attorney fees “shameful,” and said his client didn’t have the money to pay the fees if the judge sided with the company.

The company’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.

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