Lawsuit Against Blackwater Filed

The Center for Constitutional Rights has sued Blackwater on behalf of an injured survivor and three families of men killed when Blackwater contractors allegedly opened fire on innocent Iraqis in Nisoor Square in Baghdad on Sept. 16. The case is Estate of Himoud Saed Atban, et al. v. Blackwater USA, et al. (C.A. No. 07-1831.) A copy of the complaint is here(pdf).

Filed in Washington, D.C. federal court by Talib Mutlaq Deewan and the estates of the deceased men – Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass, and Oday Ismail Ibraheem – the lawsuit alleges that Blackwater and its affiliated companies violated U.S. law and “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life.”

The complaint alleges that Blackwater violated the federal Alien Tort Statute in committing extrajudicial killing and war crimes, and that Blackwater should be liable for claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision.

Both compensatory and punitive damages are being sought.

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    and my bet is that it either gets (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 01:09:31 PM EST
    dismissed out of hand, or on appeals, should it get that far.

    not that i want it to be mind you, just that i think the USSC has given the green light here, with it's most recent opinion.

    more on this story... (none / 0) (#2)
    by selise on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 01:25:12 PM EST
    jeralyn -

    democracy now! broke the story this morning with an excellent discussion which included jeremy scahill and susan burke (of CCR).

    i highly recommend this report to your readers.

    I read the suit and all, and it seems to have (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 05:05:56 PM EST
    lots of merit.  Whether it goes far, is another issue.

    But, looking at this entry over at War and Piece, I see another suit which would be much easier (on liability issues alone) to bring:  the Blackwater convoy guys drive the fast in the wrong lane ("counterflowing"), hit another car which then hits something and bursts into flames, incinerating the civilian occupants.

    In every country I can think of, driving head-on into traffic is spelled "negligence" (at least) and even could come under the theory of res ipsa loquitur (or whatever the Iraqi equivalent is).  The nice part of such a suit is in the word "Counterflowing".  The mere existence of that word indicates to me there is a developed pattern and practice imposed from on high in Blackwater upon Blackwater's "independent contractors", such that respondeat superior liability would lie against Blackwater.  

    Anyone know whether the Alien Tort Statute applies to facilitate bringing auto negligence cases?

    Also, IIRC, there is an FTCA exception to the non-liability of the US - for negligent auto accidents....