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Home» Burn Pits News » KBR Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Appeal of Iraq Pollution Case

KBR Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Appeal of Iraq Pollution Case

Law360 recently published an article detailing Kellogg, Brown, and Root’s (‘KBR’s) request that the U.S. Supreme Court consider whether a case of twelve soldiers the company knowingly exposed to cancer-causing carcinogens at Qarmat Ali may sue for damages. Doyle Raizner LLP secured an $85 million verdict from an Oregon jury holding KBR liable to these former service members.  KBR asserts that the Federal Tort Claims Act and the political question doctrine should bar the state-law tort claims currently against them, and that the jury’s verdict and ensuing judgment should be overturned.

The military contractor petitioned for writ of certiorari July 28, 2014, arguing the court should delay entertaining the contractor’s petition until it issues decision in two similar cases pending before the court.

The article notes that in April, the First Circuit denied KBR’s request for an en banc rehearing that aimed to eliminate the lawsuit against them by the Indiana National Guard troops. KBR argued that the claims directly implicate strategic military decisions and therefore are non-justiciable under the political question doctrine and preempted by the combatant-articles exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act. This same line of reasoning was put forth in KBR v. Metzgar – the Burn Pit litigation – which is also pending before the Supreme Court. In full, KBR is suggesting court’s current petition in the Qarmat Ali litigation be held until the others are resolved.

Though KBR claims resolution in Harris and Burn Pit can and should control the resolution of the Qarmat Ali litigation, Attorney Mike Doyle, counsel for the injured soldiers, says, “The petition is a ‘transparent’ effort to further postpone litigation.” Doyle further believes the high court will not view KBR’s request as substantively or procedurally ripe for review.

More than 50 Indiana based soldiers were exposed to sodium dichromate, which scientists have concluded is one of the most deadly carcinogens on earth. Each incident took place as the military servicemen worked to secure the Qarmat Ali water plant in southern Iraq, a site KBR had been given the authority to survey. The United States government aimed to restore the water treatment plant to continue pushing water into Iraqi oil reserves in efforts to provide a consistent flow of petroleum.

In November, a Fifth Circuit panel denied KBR’s appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore’s denial of KBR’s request to dismiss the claims.

KBR’s request to have the Fifth Circuit panel rehear the decision was found premature, as that would effectively rule on the political doctrine question before a choice of law analysis was performed – the plaintiffs live in different states and even countries. The panel also noted that since jurisdiction remains in dispute, it would avoid the Federal Tort Claims Act issue since it goes to the merits of the case.

The full article can be found at:


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Posted by Jeff Raizner on Aug 6 2014. Filed under Burn Pits News, KBR Lawsuits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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