Halliburton Co. and KBR Inc. must face lawsuits brought by military personnel and contractors allegedly harmed by contaminated water and toxic emissions from burning waste in Iraq and Afghanistan, a judge has said.
U.S. District Judge Roger Titus in Greenbelt, Maryland, who is overseeing 43 lawsuits on the matter, yesterday rejected the companies’ claims of immunity for combat-related activities, saying he was concerned it would limit legal remedies for people who allege they were injured, according to the report from Bloomberg.
Plaintiffs claim that the Houston-based companies ignored the terms of contracts with the U.S. that required safe and environmentally sound waste disposal for troops. Improper disposal of waste in “burn pits” led to injuries including cancer and respiratory illness, law firms Motley Rice LLC and Burke PLLC said in a statement.
KBR, which split from Halliburton in 2007, said in a statement: “KBR is confident that the evidence will confirm that it performed waste disposal and water services pursuant to military direction and guidelines”. Halliburton reportedly declined to comment.
(Sources: Bloomberg, Baltimore Daily Record)