KBR Contractor wants Iraqi law to decide lawsuit to avoid paying punitive damages for US soldier death
AP, April 6, 2011
Attorneys for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. want a federal judge in Pittsburgh to apply Iraqi law to a lawsuit filed by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier who was electrocuted in Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Nora Berry Fischer says she wants both sides to file written arguments before she decides the issue argued at a pretrial hearing on Tuesday. But Fischer acknowledged the dispute is really about whether KBR might have to pay punitive damages, which aren’t available under Iraqi law.
The lawsuit contends KBR is responsible because it maintained the barracks where the Army says a water pump shorted out and electrified Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth’s shower water in 2008.
KBR attorneys have argued that three Army investigations have determined no one agency or company is to blame.