Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Burn Pit Lawsuit Hearing Rescheduled to March 2017

The Court has rescheduled the evidentiary hearing to March 9 and 10, 2017. At that time the Court will determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit. The Court entered an Order setting forth the new hearing dates.

The new hearing dates were requested by the parties to the case. The Order scheduling the changes requires that KBR file its renewed motion to dismiss on January 13, 2017, and that responsive and reply pleading be filed on February 3, 2017 and February 15, 2017, respectively. A Pre-Trial Conference has been scheduled for March 2, 2017.

The Second Case Management Order, entered earlier, directed that the parties (Service members and KBR) and the United States Government, to exchange information so that the Court may make a determination as to whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case against Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) for alleged negligence involving Iraq and Afghanistan burn pit sites.

The Court has directed that KBR and the United States Government identify what bases KBR was involved with in Iraq and Afghanistan. Testimony, written and electronic documentary evidence, and photographs will be reviewed to determine the level and extent of KBR's roll, if any, in the operation of the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The cases have been brought by: veterans, private military contractor employees and civilian government employees, who were exposed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The action is against KBR for damages "caused [by] harm through the negligent use of burn pits and improper water treatment."

The case is a consolidated Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) matter that consists of multiple individual cases. KBR was hired by the United States to provide logistical support for the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

The Court has directed that the exchange of information focus only on:
"1. The degree to which the military controlled KBR's performance of the contracts, and   2. The degree to which KBR was integrated into the military command."
The exposed individuals and their families brought a lawsuit against KBR for its allegedly improper use of the burn pits and for failing to warn veterans and civilians of the hazards of being exposed.

The cases allege that prolonged exposure to the burn pits' smoke, ash and fumes, and improper water treatment, may have resulted in chronic diseases, risk of future illness and death. The lawsuit alleges that KBR burned large amounts of unsorted waste, including hazardous waste, medical waste, and human waste, at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case, In re KBR Inc, Burn Pit Litigation, is a consolidated action and is venued in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, before Judge Roger W. Titus.