Veteran U.S. Navy Commander Robin Petersen Wins Case Against Boeing for Illegal Passport Confiscation and Involuntary Servitude, While Foiling Boeing's Attempts to Subject Him to Saudi Arabian Sharia Law
I just recently learned of fantastic news about the outcome of Veteran U.S. Navy Commander and Naval Aviator Robin Petersen's lawsuit against Boeing for their abusive and unlawful imprisonment of Commander Petersen in Saudi Arabia in squalid and dangerous conditions while he was a Boeing contractor there, which I have previously extensively blogged about on 6/6/10 and on 9/12/10.
He won a largely symbolic but a very important victory against Boeing's mistreatment of veterans like him, by getting "scorched earth lawsuit defense" Boeing Legal to settle the case in his favor with a 100,000 dollar settlement. The Judgement was entered in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on January 22nd, 2016.
This win by Navy Commander Petersen was reported very subtly only in the Project On Government Oversight's (POGO's) important Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD).
This is the first reporting of the settlement outside that one entry in the FCMD, which, for Boeing, now lists 67 instances of major fraud with a total of 1.45 billion dollars in penalties.
And, those 67 serious incidents of misconduct in the POGO database are not indicative of the real level of Boeing Management corruption. Take that number to the second or third power and you may have something approaching the true number. Boeing continues to commit fraud because of the reasons all corrupt companies like Boeing do: A simple cost-benefit analysis. As long as they save more money by committing fraud than not, they will continue committing fraud.
If you want to get up to speed on what transpired prior to the details on this latest news before reading on, please refer to the two noted blogs above.
What follows is a brief outline of his case covered on the noted blogs.
Navy Commander Petersen's original suit was filed in the U.S. District Court, State of Arizona, on May 7, 2010. It documented how Boeing was aiding and abetting human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, specifically by engaged in the practice of passport confiscation, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, and fraudulent recruitment practices upon U.S. Citizens and Third Country National (TCN) workers.
Commander Petersen became injured overseas in Saudi Arabia while employed by Boeing/BISS and was not allowed to return to the United States for medical treatment because Boeing had his U.S. passport confiscated, held him in Saudi Arabia against his will, and wasn't provided with an Exit Visa with which to leave the country of Saudi Arabia when he requested one.
Commander Petersen had made several written requests for the return of his passport to the Boeing Company Operations Manager in Saudi Arabia, Shaun A. Ford, and had called the Boeing Ethics Office saying Boeing would not return his passport. Commander Petersen had also contacted James McNerney, The Boeing Company's CEO by letter, detailing the fraudulent activity, unethical business practices, and violations of human rights that he had observed and experienced while employed by Boeing/BISS.
Mr. McNerney never responded to Commander Petersen's concerns and request for help, ignoring his urgent request for help to be rescued from his illegal detainment in Saudi Arabia so he could have his freedom back to return to the U.S. for competent medical treatment of a serious injury. The lawsuit also detailed that a number of other U.S. Veterans and Third Country National workers who were employed by Boeing/BISS in Saudi Arabia had their passports confiscated and were subject to similar inhumane treatment.
Commander Petersen then made several attempts to get help from the U.S. Consulate located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He was finally helped by a consulate security official in June 2009, who then ordered Boeing/BISS company officials to return Commander Petersen's U.S. passport and provide him with the required Exit Visa in which to depart Saudi Arabia. On June 8, 2009, and after six months without having the freedom to travel, Commander Petersen was able to return to the United States to get the proper treatment he needed for his injury.
Read it all, and you will get a very instructive glimpse of just how "ethically" and "legally" Boeing does business globally, including here in the U.S. with its victimizing of fine U.S. Veterans (that have bravely served their country) like Commander Petersen.
The last I reported on my noted blogs, on 9/3/10, Commander Petersen's attorneys had served Boeing subsidiary Boeing International Support Systems, Saudi Arabia (BISS) with his lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
What follows is new information since my noted blogs:
BISS then filed a Motion to Dismiss two weeks after they were served by Commander Petersen, moving for dismissal based on “Improper Venue,” falsely stating that they had provided Commander Petersen with an employment contract in the United States before he was sent to Saudi Arabia that contained a “Forum Selection Clause,” which would force him or anyone else under the contract to have to litigate in Saudi Arabia should any disputes arise between parties to the contract.
Boeing's Attorneys purposely included this Forum Selection Clause in their employment contracts for contractors in Saudi Arabia because they knew that anyone who might bring legal claims against them for their inevitable wrongdoing would have to utilize corrupt and biased Saudi Arabian courts under Saudi Sharia Law to attempt to obtain justice.
Further, Boeing knew that anyone who brought such legal claims could never leave country of Saudi Arabia until their legal case was completed or abandoned per Saudi Arabia's government rules. Of course the employees/Veterans being sent overseas by Boeing under this contract had no clue as to exactly what they would have to go through under Saudi Sharia Law (the strictest Sharia Law in the world) if they had an employment dispute with Boeing.
What Boeing apparently didn’t know at the time of their motion is that they had not provided Commander Petersen with documents containing Boeing's “Forum Selection Clause” while he was in the United States.
This would prove to be key, which opened the door for Commander Petersen to hold Boeing accountable for their fraud, passport confiscation, false imprisonment and his other claims under U.S. Law in a U.S. court of law.
As part of the Motion to Dismiss was an Affidavit from a Boeing Paralegal stating BISS is not authorized to do business in the United States and therefore could not be served, although that was likely another Boeing lie that was never tested in this case.
From this point several Motions, Responses, and Replies are filed with the Court over the next several months.
Then, on 3/9/2011 the Court ruled in favor of Boeing/BISS Dismissing Commander Petersen's Case, siding with Boeing. His attorney appealed the dismissal, but 9 months later, on 12/5/11 a Judge denied that effort. It was late December before his attorney even notified him that the Motion to Vacate the dismissal was denied. Commander Petersen believes that the reasons for the dismissal were due to his incompetent legal representation who did not listen to his input and didn’t take the time to understand the facts of the case. Additionally, he felt his attorney had not informed him in a timely manner of the case dismissal in hopes that he would give up and accept defeat so they could get paid for work on the case up to that point. He submitted a complaint with the State Bar of Arizona against the attorney, who was later reprimanded for violating various ethics rules in their representation of Commander Petersen.
After that devastating loss, Commander Petersen then decided to appeal the dismissal himself, filing his Notice of Appeal on January 3rd, 2012 with the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and represented himself from that point on, providing legal briefings to the Court during the next two years with the help of his legally astute 16 year old stepdaughter.
And on April 26th, 2013, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Boeing, and reversed and remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court of Arizona.
During the course of the next two years and until just last year there would be numerous court filings by Commander Petersen and Boeing back and forth (some 268 Documents).
On February 18, 2015, the Court denied a Boeing motion to dismiss and allowed two claims of Commander Petersen to proceed: one for fraud and misrepresentation and one for false imprisonment.
On April 8th, 2015, an Evidentiary Hearing took place where witnesses were called to testify before the Court, and where Boeing's expert on Saudi Sharia Law and Saudi Courts admitted those Courts were corrupt.
And on June 10th, 2015, the District Court issued a Court Order, ordering that the Boeing/Saudi Forum Selection Clause and Saudi Venue were not enforceable, further stating that Saudi Sharia law offends the very notion of equality before the law on which the American system of justice is premised and moved the case into the discovery phase.
Key to their decision was Commander Petersen's AND Boeing's Saudi Court experts' testimony that Saudi courts will only credit an individual’s testimony if it is corroborated by two adult, male, Muslim witnesses. Commander Petersen's testimony would not be considered as he was not a Muslim. Also important were both witnesses agreement that Commander Petersen would not be allowed into Saudi Arabia to testify, and that he would not be allowed to leave Saudi Arabia until the case was decided (which would take some months) if he were to somehow enter Saudi Arabia.
This was a huge victory for any person contracting with Boeing in the future, as it will prevent Boeing from using such forum selection clauses again to try to deter contractors from having their rightfully unbiased and uncorrupted day in court to hear their cases against Boeing. This precedent effectively shuts down Boeing's despicable policy of subjecting U.S. Veterans and citizens like Commander Petersen to Saudi Sharia Law in Saudi Courts that are wholly corrupted and biased in Boeing's favor because of Boeing's close relationship with the Saudi government and their military. Boeing is not above bribing foreign judges, or domestic ones, for that matter, considering their efforts as noted on this site to corrupt the U.S. government at all levels.
Once Commander Petersen began receiving Boeing Company documents that directly tied the Boeing Company to BISS and began uncovering Boeing company emails that proved his allegations about the deplorable conditions Boeing was knowingly holding him in in Saudi Arabia, as well as proving that Boeing managers attempted to cover up from him their knowledge of those conditions, things began fall apart for Boeing and its Saudi Arabian partner company.
And the impending trial finally brought Boeing to the table with Commander Petersen, and on January 22nd, 2016, they settled for the noted monetary Judgment.
Even though the noted $100,000 settlement would have been orders of magnitude larger if Commander Petersen had adequate counsel throughout and didn't have to pursue this suit on his own against Boeing in the end, Boeing no doubt spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more in their despicable attempt to stonewall justice for Commander Petersen and their further attempts to retaliate against him by their repeated attempts to have him subjected to Saudi Arabian Sharia Law during the process of the lawsuit. So, in total, Boeing spent probably half a million to a million dollars or more in legal fees and Commander Petersen's settlement, which is a more fitting penalty for the egregious conduct by Boeing in this case against him.
As noted, Boeing Legal treats all people who sue Boeing to these same "scorched earth" legal defense policies to deter lawsuits, as Boeing executive management, the Boeing Board of Directors, and Boeing Legal attorneys, up to and including J. Michael Luttig, Boeing's Chief Counsel (probably the most corrupt corporate Chief Counsel in America, if not the world), have (perhaps correctly) determined that Boeing is such a corrupt company that it saves huge amounts of money by doing so, even though it spends about the equivalent of the price of a new 777 each year (well over 100 million dollars) on unethical attorneys to enact its delay and "deny accountability" policy. If Boeing had no such policy, the company would probably be rightly overrun by thousands more lawsuits each year by legitimately aggrieved people, employees, companies, and governments who have been defrauded by Boeing's eminently corrupt management and business practices, only a small portion of which are noted on this site.
But that is just one part of their corrupt calculations -- the lesser one.
Boeing knows that this scorched earth legal defense policy, in which Boeing fights even the most legitimate and open and shut lawsuits against it with the most esoteric and ludicrous defense arguments to delay and/or deny justice for the plaintiffs for as long as possible, regardless of legal costs (as they did in Commander Petersen's case), creates the essential firewall that Boeing uses to enable it to continue with its various ongoing fraudulent schemes against its customers, both private and governmental, that net it billions every year in dirty revenue/profits. That is the primary motivation of what should be called the "Boeing Illegal Department" run by the fraud enabling Boeing Chief Counsel Luttig.
Boeing not only defrauds its customers out of money with these methods, but they also profit off the deaths of the passengers and crew on its commercial and military aircraft, as noted on this website and in multiple other pages linked through the navigation buttons at the top of this page.
So, considering such unprecedented depths of corruption at Boeing's highest levels, Boeing's stonewalling of U.S. Navy Veteran Commander/Aviator Petersen for so long from rightful compensation for Boeing's egregious mistreatment of him and their repeated efforts to get him to face corrupt Boeing Legal under Sharia Law in Saudi Courts that Boeing knows are corrupt (under which people can be stoned to death for "witchcraft and sorcery," and men can marry girls as young as eight), fits right in with Boeing's corrupt legal modus operandi.
Commander Petersen wrote to a couple U.S. Senators as well as the Obama Administration as noted in my previous blogs about this case in attempts to get the U.S. Government to open a criminal investigation into the confiscation of U.S. Passports by Boeing and their holding of U.S. Citizens/Veterans against their will in a human rights adverse foreign country. Nothing came of those efforts.
I very unfortunately found the same unresponsiveness from U.S. Government Senators and representatives when I wrote to them requesting help in stopping the Boeing/FAA QA fraud I witnessed as noted on this site. It isn't only the Saudi Arabian government that is effectively in league with Boeing's corruption.
Commander Petersen still rightly believes this is still a Human and Civil Rights issue and hopes that news about his case will finally cause the U.S. Government to open the as yet undone criminal investigation into the confiscation of U.S. Passports by Boeing and their holding of U.S. Citizens/Veterans against their will in Saudi Arabia.
Many others suffered as Commander Petersen did under Boeing's unlawful detainment in Saudi Arabia in deplorable conditions via Boeing's confiscation of their passports to control them, intimidate them, and detain them. Some attempted to find lawyers upon their return to the U.S. All were told that they could not challenge the Boeing/Saudi Forum Selection Clause if Boeing was accused of any wrongdoing during the course of employment. They never received any justice for Boeing's criminal mistreatment of them.
So, write to your Senators and Representative and request that they request such an investigation by the FBI/Justice Department so that Boeing is finally held to account for their noted criminal and inhuman and civil rights abuses of U.S. Veterans and citizens.