Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

KBR claims Iraqi law should apply in suit over Ryan Maseth’s death

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 5, 2011


U.S. soldiers living on military bases in Iraq had no expectation that they were protected by Pennsylvania law instead of Iraqi law, a lawyer for a Houston-based defense contractor argued today in Pittsburgh federal court.

KBR Inc. wants U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to use Iraqi law in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Shaler against the company. Maseth was electrocuted Jan. 2, 2008, while showering at a military base in Baghdad.

Cheryl Harris and Douglas Maseth claim shoddy electrical work by the contractor caused their son’s death. KBR has denied responsibility and argues that Iraq has more interest in having its law applied to this case than Texas, Pennsylvania or Tennessee.

Harris said after today’s hearing that KBR’s arguments just feed the frustration she feels from having the case stuck in pretrial maneuvers for the past three years. Members of the military deserve to have U.S. standards applied to the bases they serve on, she said.

“It’s quite sad that KBR would think otherwise,” Harris said. “That they would be paid billions of dollars and not be expected to protect U.S. soldiers.”  Please read the entire story here

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