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Indiana soldiers refile suit against contractors

April 5, 2010

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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