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Cheryl Harris vs KBR Archive

SSG Ryan Maseth

Rich Lord – (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) – March 30, 2012 – Staff Sgt. Ryan Douglas Maseth’s death in a shower in Iraq stemmed from U.S. Army decisions that can’t be questioned by courts, lawyers for a top defense contractor argued in court today.

Or maybe they were the result of Mr. Maseth’s own risky decisions, attorneys for Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. told U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, in oral arguments supporting their motion to dismiss the four-year-old lawsuit pursued by the sergeant’s parents and estate.

The hearing became an hours-long debate that vividly depicted the cold calculus of wartime decision making, showing that Army officials — and maybe KBR — knew troop showers were death traps, but opted for what military planners called “the least-bad option.”

Mr. Maseth, whose parents live in the North Hills, was 24 at the time of his Jan. 2, 2008, electrocution on the U.S. base at Radwaniyah Palace complex in Baghdad. KBR had a contract for maintenance of buildings there.

Mr. Maseth was assigned to a building that initially was not considered fit to house troops, but was later deemed by the Army to be adequate despite an ungrounded electrical system, said attorney Lawrence S. Ebner, representing KBR. The Army knew for four years prior to Mr. Maseth’s death that the building was ungrounded, as were many buildings in Iraq, he said.

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Ryan we haven’t forgotten you

Posted January 2, 2012 By Ms Sparky

SSG Ryan Maseth was electrocuted in his shower in Baghdad and died January 2, 2008

The war in Iraq is all but over and our troops have pulled out.  It’s been four years today since 24 year old  SSG Ryan Maseth was electrocuted and died while showering in his living quarters at Radwaniyah Palace Complex in Baghdad. Ryan’s courageous mother, Cheryl Harris continues to fight, not only for the rights of her son, but for the safety of soldiers everywhere.

Cheryl filed suit against KBR for the death of her son. Although this suit drags on in the US courts at an agonizingly slow pace.  KBR has pulled out all the stops in attempts to have this case dismissed in US courts, but much to KBR’s dismay, it hasn’t.

I will write every year I’m able to remind people of Ryan’s death, the product of corporate greed and corruption, and heroes like Cheryl Harris. We need more heroes like Cheryl!

You can read more on Cheryl’s case against KBR at Cheryl Harris vs KBR.

Below are links to past posts I’ve written and published on the anniversary of Ryan’s death.

SSG Ryan Maseth – You must be very proud! (2009)
Does anyone know what day this is? (2010)
3rd anniversary of the electrocution death of SSG Ryan Maseth (2011)

Cheryl, I pray the next post I publish about Ryan is how you succeeded in holding KBR accountable for his senseless death!

Ms Sparky

“KBR protests too much” says Judge Fischer

Posted September 24, 2011 By Ms Sparky

Company’s motion denied in electrocution death lawsuit
Saturday, September 24, 2011
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For the second time, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer has denied a motion by Houston-based defense contractor Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. to have the civil case stemming from a sergeant’s death decided under Iraqi law.

“From the Court’s view, KBR ‘protests too much,’ ” Judge Fischer wrote in an order denying the firm’s motion for reconsideration of her June order that laws of the U.S. apply in the death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Douglas Maseth, 24. “Iraq’s negligible interests in this case are far outweighed by those of the United States and the controlling law of the United States will be applied.”

Mr. Maseth’s parents, who live in the North Hills, sued KBR over his death by electrocution on Jan. 2, 2008, while showering on the U.S. base at Radwaniyah Palace complex in Baghdad. They blame a short circuit in an electrical water pump, and say KBR was responsible for fixing electrical problems at the complex.

Neither KBR’s attorneys, nor those representing the parents, could be reached for comment. Had KBR prevailed, Judge Fischer would have tried the case locally, but under Iraqi law that does not allow for punitive damages. (click HERE for original article)

Iraqi Law Won’t Apply in Suit Over Dead Soldier

Cheryl Harris and SSG Ryan Maseth

By REUBEN KRAMER – PITTSBURGH (CN) – June 21, 2011 – The parents of a Green Beret who was electrocuted while showering at base camp during his second tour of duty in Iraq can use U.S. law to pursue wrongful-death claims against Texas-based military contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root, a federal judge ruled.

Cheryl Harris and Douglas Maseth sued KBR (PDF) in March 2008, claiming 11 on-base electrocutions of American military personnel in Iraq gave the contractor notice about sweeping electrical problems. But despite this notice, the couple says KBR “did nothing to fix” the “faulty electric infrastructure,” which included the improperly grounded water-pump system that sent a stream of electrified water through the shower nozzle, killing their son, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth.

KBR moved on Feb. 4 to apply the Iraqi Civil Code to the case, submitting an expert report that argued Iraqi law does not allow an estate to obtain damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering or emotional distress.

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For a copy of Judge Nora Barry Fischer’s opinion click HERE

Judge: Iraq law won’t apply to Maseth wrongful death suit

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth

Brian Bowling – PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW – June 17, 2011 – A defense contractor wasn’t in Iraq at the request of the government or because of its business climate, so Iraq has no interest in applying its civil tort laws to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the company by the parents of a dead soldier, a federal judge ruled today.

The parents of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, a native of Shaler, are suing KBR Inc. for the Jan. 2, 2008, death of their son while he showered on a military base in Iraq maintained by the company. Cheryl Harris and Douglas Maseth claim shoddy electrical work by the contractor caused their son’s electrocution.

KBR had the maintenance contract for the base but claims it was not responsible for repairs and did not work on the pump.

The Houston-based defense contractor asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to apply Iraqi law to the lawsuit because Iraq`s laws would make it hard for Maseth`s parents to prove KBR was responsible for his death, limit the compensatory damages they could receive and prevent them from getting punitive damages.

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