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We’re Back and other news

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Not-Quite-Lost Shipping Containers May Cost Feds
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) – May 17, 2013 – A fourth company will join the fight to prove that the government lied about losing 1,000 leased shipping containers so it could keep using them without paying, a federal judge ruled.

Three container companies, CAI International, Cronos Containers and Textainer Equipment Management, had leased shipping containers to TOPtainer, which in turn leased the containers to the U.S. Army for equipment shipments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Firestone with the Court of Federal Claims joined

Capital Lease to the case because it had been Textainer’s supplier.

They claim that the government told TOPtainer that it lost 1,000 when its lease was up, and paid TOPtainer for the loss, but TOPtainer never remitted that money to its suppliers and is now defunct.

The container companies say that the government took the title to their property without paying just compensation.

Capital also “presented undisputed evidence to the court to show that 125 containers that had been owned by Capital and were now the subject of plaintiff Textainer’s claim were never ‘lost,’ but were instead sent to Okinawa, Japan and thus appeared to have been ‘taken’ outside the terms of the master lease,” Judge Firestone wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Judge’s Order)

Soldier Given Second Shot at Suing Gun Maker
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 3, 2013 – A soldier who was injured when his M2 machine gun exploded and a shell casing pierced his leg will get a chance to hone his federal lawsuit against the gun’s manufacturer.

While Sean McMahon was on active duty in the U.S. Army, his M2 .50-caliber Browning machine gun exploded during a test firing at a base in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

A shell casing pierced McMahon’s calf, and he underwent multiple surgeries to treat his fractured leg. He was also diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, tinnitus, hearing loss and adjustment disorder as a result of the accident.

McMahon sued the gun’s manufacturer, General Dynamics Corp., claiming the gun’s malfunction caused him physical and neuropsychological injuries.

U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in New Jersey found that McMahon’s complaint is not barred by the combatant activities exception or political question doctrine, but that it did lack the specificity needed to survive a motion to dismiss.

“Here, a U.S. serviceman asserts that a manufacturing defect at the defendant’s U.S. plant resulted in the production of a defective gun that injured him,” McNulty wrote. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Memorandum Opinion)

Military Must Release Bullet-Wound Records
Rose Bouboushian – (Courthouse News) – April 2, 2013 – The Department of Defense failed to show that a veteran’s FOIA request for records of soldiers who suffered fatal bullet wounds while wearing body armor would “shock” troops’ families, a federal judge ruled.

Retired Marine Corps Capt. Roger Charles is investigating whether U.S. troops were provided inadequate body armor. Charles is editor of Soldiers for the Truth Foundation’s online journal Defense Watch.

He submitted a FOIA request to the Pentagon’s Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in October 2008, seeking records on bullet wounds to armored troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan between January 2006 and December 2007.

The request was directed to then-Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Capt. Craig T. Mallak.

By January 30, 2009, the institute had not produced any documents nor estimated of when it might respond. He filed a complaint for injunctive relief in February 2009, alleging violations of the Freedom of Information and Administrative Procedure Acts.

He claimed that troops were “being sent into harm’s way with substandard ballistic protection from small arms fire,” and that the Pentagon had recalled more than 16,000 sets of body armor. (Click HERE for article) (Click HERE for Memorandum Opinion and Order)

Judge Blows Away Security Firm’s Claim
Lorraine Bailey – (Courthouse News) -  March 15, 2013 – Former employees may sue a company that provided security for the State Department in Afghanistan, on charges that it falsified workers’ firearms performance tests, a federal judge ruled.

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