Policy: Law

Appeals court in Va. revives soldiers' lawsuits

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Local,Virginia,Law,State Courts

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court in Virginia has 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 Titus in Maryland had dismissed the lawsuits, ruling that the contractors cannot be sued because they were essentially an extension of the military.

But a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that the contractors are protected only if they were following explicit instructions from the military. The court said Titus improperly tossed the case without examining that issue.

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