Home » A Soldiers Story » Lawyer: Military’s housing choice irrelevant
 

Lawyer: Military’s housing choice irrelevant

Brian Bowling – (TribLive News) – May 14, 2013 – A federal jury can determine whether a Defense  contractor is responsible for the electrocution death of a Shaler soldier  without second-guessing the military’s choice of where to house troops in Iraq,  a lawyer for the soldier’s parents argued Tuesday.

The jury doesn’t have to decide whether the Army made  the right choice in housing Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, in a building with a  substandard electrical system to determine whether KBR Inc. of Houston had the  discretion to fix the water pump that electrocuted Maseth while he was taking a  shower, said William Stickman.

If the jury decides the Army tied KBR’s hands, “we  simply lose,” he told a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of  Appeals, which was hearing oral arguments in the Downtown federal courthouse.

Cheryl Harris of Cranberry and Douglas Maseth of  Allison Park want the appeals court to reinstate their lawsuit against KBR Inc.  for the Jan. 2, 2008, death of their son at the Radwaniyah Palace Complex in  Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer dismissed the  lawsuit in July based on her finding that she couldn’t rule on whether KBR  caused Maseth’s death without evaluating the Army’s decision to house him and  other soldiers in the building.

Stickman argued that KBR’s contract with the military gave it the discretion to analyze and fix problems during service calls it made  to the barracks before Maseth’s death.

Lawrence Ebner, one of KBR’s lawyers, argued there was no way for a jury to rule on whether KBR was responsible for Maseth’s death without probing the military’s decision.

Circuit Court Judge D. Michael Fisher questioned whether the case really requires the jury to determine whether the military made the right decision.

The case seems to come down to “was it KBR’s fault,  or was it the military’s decision that led to Sgt. Maseth’s electrocution,” he said.

Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith also said it seemed  like a factual question rather than a policy question. (Click HERE for original article)

my image

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *