U.S. Companies Accused of Billing Texas Family for Return of Contractor’s Heart from Iraq

Friday, May 03, 2013
Chuck Doherty

The family of a military contractor who died in Iraq is suing his former employers, claiming, among other things that the company charged them for shipping home the man’s heart.


Chuck Doherty, 59, was an architect who worked as a senior project manager—helping to build military installations—for Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) and FrontierMEDEX, a logistics company that provided medical, safety and security services to the U.S. government in Iraq.


A former U.S. Naval commander, Doherty died in October 2011 of a heart attack, according to an official at PAE.


But Doherty’s family alleges the employers never provided a clear explanation for what happened to the former contractor. Reports of blood at the scene of his death, along with a star-shaped wound on Doherty’s head, led the family to question the heart attack explanation.


“In blatant disregard to plaintiffs' requests, defendants failed to take any measure to properly secure the remains,” the complaint reads. “They incorrectly shipped them around Iraq, allowed them to be mutilated in an autopsy, and essentially returned the body home in two pieces, the body and weeks later the heart and tissue samples.”


The plaintiffs added that “the circumstances surrounding his death are bizarre” and “they have been unable to fully and finally determine how Chuck died,” which made it “impossible to collect on life insurance because of the mutilation of the body and the missing heart.”


When the heart was sent back to the family, it was found to be missing one of its arteries. To add insult to injury, the companies offered no apology for sending Doherty’s heart home separately, while also trying to charge the family for shipping costs.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

A Military Contractor in Iraq Shipped a Worker's Body Home in Pieces, Without the Heart (by Cameron Langford, Courthouse News Service)  

Chuck L. Doherty – Obituary (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Air Force Dumped Ashes of 274 Troops in Landfill (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

Gruesome Details of Mishandled War Dead at Dover Air Force Base (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

211 Bodies Misplaced and Misidentified at Arlington Cemetery (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment