BALTIMORE, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Defense contractor KBR Inc. won a victory when a federal judge in Maryland dismissed claims over hazardous fumes from trash-burning pits.
U.S. District Judge Paul Titus dismissed all complaints against KBR Wednesday "in the national interest," noting any exposure to hazardous fumes, alleged by over 50 plaintiffs while they were serving in war zones, was a matter for military courts.
"The critical interests of the United States could be compromised if military contractors were left holding the bag for claims made by military and other personnel that could not be made against the military itself," Titus wrote.
He added the plaintiffs should pursue their case "through the military and legislative processes, not through the judiciary."
KBR presented a similar argument in a case in which Oregon National Guard members won an $85 million judgment against the company. The soldiers accused KBR of knowingly exposing them to danger when it restarted a heavily damaged water treatment plant at Qarmat Ali, Iraq, contaminated with sodium dichromate, which contains a known carcinogen, the (Portland) Oregonian reported Thursday.