KBR Burn Pit MDL
In 2008, after initially being retained by a man named Josh Eller, Burke PLLC lawyers began to file a series of lawsuits against KBR and Halliburton. These lawsuits seek redress against the companies for burning waste in open air “burn pits” in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2009, Burke PLLC consolidated the numerous lawsuits using the multi-district litigation vehicle (called “MDL”). The federal district court in Maryland (J. Titus) presides over the preliminary discovery stage for all the lawsuits. The lawsuits are commonly referred to as “the KBR Burn Pit MDL.”
In 2010, Burke PLLC needed help to manage the large volume of claims arising from the burn pits. Burke PLLC was fortunate to be able to co-counsel with Joe Rice and his firm Motley Rice, one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms. Working together as a team, the Burke PLLC and Motley Rice lawyers represent persons across the nation who were harmed by the burn pits emissions.
The KBR Burn Pit MDL complaint alleges that soldiers and contractors who served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from serious injuries caused by overexposure to harmful toxins and carcinogenic materials in the smoke and ash generated through the improper disposal of vast quantities of unsorted waste in enormous open-air burn pits.
The KBR Burn Pit MDL complaint alleges that KBR and its former parent Halliburton Company failed to fulfill their contractual responsibilities to handle waste disposal in a safe manner, and instead operated enormous open air burn pits as a means to dispose of waste.
To date, Burke PLLC and Motley Rice have prevailed against KBR and Halliburton’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuits. On September 8, 2010, the Court (J. Titus) ruled that discovery was needed to determine the bona fides of KBR’s argument that the military controlled its actions. Subsequently, on December 10, 2010, the Court (J. Titus) halted proceedings in the MDL pending action by the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in several other lawsuits arising from events in Iraq.
Although the burn pit lawsuits will take time to work through the judicial system, the attention accorded to the issue has had some immediate beneficial effect. In March 2011, military representatives advised the House Armed Services Committee and Military Personnel Subcommittee that all major burn pits in Iraq have been closed, and efforts are underway to close as many burn pits as possible in Afghanistan.
If you are interested in joining the ongoing burn pit litigation, please email Susan L. Burke at sburke@burkepllc.