Supreme Court: Electrocution And Burn Pit Lawsuits Can Proceed

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Family photo

Cheryl Harris with son Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the attempt by military contractors KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co. to block lawsuits against them that deal with electrocution and burn pits on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press reports. The contractors hoped to curtail the lawsuits with appeals.

One of the lawsuits concerns the 2008 death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth in Iraq, who was electrocuted while taking a shower in his Army barracks:

The suit claims KBR unit Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. was legally responsible for the shoddy electrical work that was common in Iraqi-built structures taken over by the U.S. military. KBR disputes that claim.

A group of service members who allege to have been sickened by toxic fumes from burn pits on military bases filed the second lawsuit, reports Bloomberg News:

[The suit claims] 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.

According to Reuters, the third lawsuit was filed by British and American soldiers who say KBR was negligent by allowing them to be exposed to the poisonous chemical sodium dichromate at a water treatment facility in Iraq.

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