Lawsuits Revived by Soldiers Over Burn Pits

IRAQ BURN PIT

(MILITARY TIMES)   A federal appeals court on Thursday revived dozens of lawsuits by soldiers and others who claim they were harmed by improper waste disposal while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The lawsuits claim Houston-based contractors KBR and Halliburton Co. exposed soldiers to toxic emissions and contaminated water when they burned waste in open pits without proper safety controls. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus in Maryland dismissed the lawsuits last year, ruling that the contractors could not be sued because they were essentially an extension of the military.

But a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its unanimous decision that the contractors are protected only if they were following explicit instructions from the military. The court said Titus improperly tossed the case without sufficient evidence on that issue.

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