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Indiana National Guard soldiers re-file lawsuit against KBR

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by Star report of Indystar.com


Attorneys for Indiana National Guard soldiers exposed to a dangerous chemical in Iraq have refilled their lawsuit against a military contractor in a federal court in Houston.The lawsuit claims that the contractor concealed the risks faced by nearly 140 Hoosier soldiers potentially exposed to a cancer-causing agent.
The Guard soldiers were among hundreds from several states providing security for Texas-based KBR at the Qarmat Ali water-pumping station near Basra, Iraq, months after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.


The initially filed case was dismissed in February by a federal judge in Indianapolis on the grounds that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana lacked “personal jurisdiction” over KBR and several related companies.


The 47 soldiers, serving as plaintiffs, were told they could pursue the lawsuit in another state where KBR and its companies have a larger footprint. KBR has no offices in Indiana but have done some business here.


The dismissal also was based in part on a finding that the actions in question took place outside Indiana, even if health effects only began to be felt after the soldiers’ return.


KBR officials have maintained there is no evidence to support the soldiers’ claims. The plant the KBR employees were rebuilding was vital to restoring oil production in the area. The site initially was covered in an orange, sand like dust, the remnant of an anti-corrosive chemical that had been spread around, according to the suit. It contained heavy concentrations of a carcinogen called hexavalent chromium.


Houston-based attorney Mike Doyle has said the Indiana lawsuit, filed in December 2008, was the farthest along of three his firm has pursued; the others are pending in Oregon and West Virginia. He refilled the Indiana lawsuit in the Houston court on Wednesday.The plaintiffs include relatives of soldier David Moore, Dubois, Ind., who died of a lung disease in 2008.


In November, Lt. Col. James C. Gentry, 52, Williams, Ind. — a nonsmoker — died of lung cancer, soon after testifying in a deposition for the lawsuit that he believed the exposure in Iraq had caused his illness.
The possible exposure has inspired legislation in Congress that would create a registry of affected service members and extend their access to health care.


Reposted from Indystar.com




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Posted by on Apr 2 2010. Filed under National Media, Qarmat Ali News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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