ILNews

Indiana soldiers refile suit against contractors

Jennifer Nelson
April 5, 2010
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Members of the Indiana National Guard have refiled a toxic exposure suit against Texas contractors in a Houston federal court. The suit, originally filed in Indiana federal court in 2008, was dismissed in February for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Nearly 50 members of the Indiana National Guard sued Texas contractors for whom the soldiers provided security at a water treatment facility in Iraq in 2003. They claimed the contractors knew the site was heavily contaminated with sodium dichromate, a toxic chemical that may increase the risk of cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, dismissed the suit in February, finding the soldiers didn't establish that the contractors knew the soldiers intended to return to Indiana after leaving Iraq, and because the injury occurred in Iraq. He also found the contractors' contacts with Indiana weren't sufficient to allow the court to exercise general jurisdiction over them.

The suit was refiled March 31 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. That case is McManaway, et al. v. KBR Inc., et al., No. 4:10-CV-01044.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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