S.C. veterans and contractors can proceed with lawsuit over Iraq, Afghanistan burn-pits
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 4, 2010
More than a dozen South Carolina veterans and defense contractors who allege their exposure to noxious fumes from burning waste dumps in Iraq and Afghanistan led to grievous health issues may proceed with their class-action lawsuit, a U.S. District judge ruled recently.
The suit, filed in South Carolina in June 2009, is among 43 suits across the country that allege fumes from “burn pits” caused cancer, respiratory problems and other illnesses.
Alex Harley of Goose Creek is among the Palmetto State’s plaintiffs.
The 34-year-old father had a clean bill of health before leaving for work as a contractor in Iraq in 2006. Harley was exposed to what he called the “indescribably horrific” fumes during the course of his work and returned to the U.S. with myriad health problems.
“They check you out completely before they send you over there,” he said. “I was completely healthy before I went. Now, I can’t work. I can’t fish. I can’t play backyard football. I can’t do any of the things I used to do.”
Plaintiffs in the 43 cases say Texas-based defense contractors ignored the terms of their government contracts requiring them to safely dispose of waste, and instead burned everything from tires to human body parts in massive pits.
The Houston contractors, KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co., who received billions of dollars from the federal government, deny the allegations and involvement. Please read the entire story here