Still, Aegis seems a reasonably well run company nowadays. Certainly, far more so than Sandline, the famous private security company founded by Tim Spicer, who founded Aegis. Sandline ceased all operations on April 16, 2004. Aegis started operations the same year.
In 2004 the International Peace Operations Association, a U.S. private military and security trade group, asked Aegis to apply for membership, but the application was rejected by a British competitor. Aegis is a founding member of the British Association of Private Security Companies (BAPSC), a British trade group. It is also a member of the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.
So everything is just great, right? Aegis can help protect athletes and spectators. Well, since we are talking about England let me borrow from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.”
Apparently Aegis’s work in Iraq wasn’t good enough to prevent some friendly fire. One wonders if the Olympic Development Authority was aware that it was Aegis security contractors who shot and permanently disabled U.S. Special Forces sergeant Khadim Alkanani as he returned to Baghdad International Airport after an intelligence mission in June 2005.
In his subsequent law suit Alkanani claimed his shooting was “remarkably similar” to other incidents which employees of Aegis Defense Services have captured on “trophy videos” which showed “senseless shootings of innocent personnel in automobiles from an armed vehicle.”
Of course, immediately after the shooting, the Aegis employees apologized for shooting him and his three‐vehicle convoy, Alkanani says. They claimed they had mistaken them for suicide bombers — though Alkanani’s convoy had been traveling directly behind the contractors and had stopped and showed identification at two checkpoints before the shooting.
The shooting took place within the main gate of Baghdad International airport, where there were no ongoing hostilities nor a credible threat of imminent hostilities, the complaint states.
Alkanani says he received prompt medical treatment for a bullet wound to his right foot, but subsequently developed Hepatitis C and has not regained full use of the foot. The disability ended his military career, resulting in his discharge in September 2006.
On February 8 the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia granted a summary judgment for Aegis dismissing Alkanani’s case.
The reasoning for the dismissal is quite fascinating. The facts were not in dispute. Alkanani was shot by Aegis contractors. Instead, Aegis showed that it did not exist as a corporate entity at the time of the alleged incident.
Judge Richard Roberts reasoning was straightforward. Aegis provided evidence that it simply didn’t exist at the time of the alleged shooting (the company was incorporated in the U.S. in 2006). Its parent company, meanwhile, argued that the court didn’t have personal jurisdiction.
Evidently while a corporation is liable for the torts of its employees if committed within the scope of employment, corporate liability attaches only upon corporate existence. And, under Delaware law, a limited liability company such as Aegis does not exist until it files a certificate of formation with the Secretary of State.
According to the judgment, Aegis LLC, the U.S. company that is part of the worldwide Aegis Group filed its certificate of formation with the Delaware Secretary of State on May 30, 2006. And Aegis LLC was not a party to the service contract awarded by the U.S. Department of the Army to Aegis UK on May 25, 2004, and Aegis LLC did not provide security services under the contract.
Because Aegis LLC presented undisputed evidence that it was not formed as a corporation until nearly a year after the alleged shooting, the defendant’s summary judgment motion was granted.
So is this the end for Alkanani’s case? Maybe. After Roberts’ judgment, Alkanani’s legal team, sent an emergency request for the judge to withdraw them. The contended that the parties had agreed to a Feb. 15 deadline for the opposition motions, and that Roberts had ruled too quickly.
Word of advice to the Olympic Development Authority. You might want to ensure the Aegis unit you signed a contract with is officially incorporated and deemed to legally exist.