Supreme Court Rejects Broader Liability Shield for Military Contractors

By | January 20, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court turned away three KBR Inc. appeals that aimed to provide military contractors with a broader shield from lawsuits over their activities on the battlefield.

The nation’s highest court today left intact a group of federal appeals court rulings letting lawsuits against KBR go forward.

One appeal centered on accusations that KBR and Halliburton Co. harmed thousands of service members and contractor employees in Iraq and Afghanistan by burning hazardous waste, including asbestos and human remains, in open-air pits. The alleged victims say in 58 consolidated suits that they were exposed to toxic smoke and contaminated water.

In a second case, a KBR unit is fighting claims by the family of a soldier electrocuted while taking a shower in his barracks in Iraq. The family says the company was negligent in servicing the barracks plumbing.

The third case involves allegations that KBR was to blame for soldiers’ exposure to a hazardous chemical while repairing a water treatment plant.

The cases are KBR v. Metzgar, 13-1241; Kellogg, Brown & Root Services v. Harris, 13-817; and KBR v. McManaway, 14-105.

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