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3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Decision in Electrocution Death of SSG Ryan Maseth

Ryan Maseth FHPI just received information this morning the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed Judge Nora Berry Fischer’s decision to dismiss Cheryl Harris’ wrongful death lawsuit against KBR.

Judge Nora Barry Fischer Opinion to Dismiss Harris vs KBR (pdf)

Many of you have been following this case since I started posting about it in 2008. Cheryl’s son, 22 year old SSG Ryan Maseth, was electrocuted and died in a shower in his living quarters on January 2, 2008 in Baghdad, Irag. The electrocution was determined to be caused from a water pump that was improperly installed and not properly grounded by KBR.

KBR has always claimed the Army was responsible and that they (KBR) were protected by the Political Question Doctrine and immune from civil action. Well I guess that may not be the case.

I will update when I get more information! It looks like Cheryl Harris and Ryan Maseth just might get their day in court!!

UPDATED: Other articles are this decision to reverse lower court ruling

Federal lawsuit against contractor is revived in Pa. soldier’s shower electrocution in Iraq

Fed court revives KBR electrocution suit

Suit Over Pa. Soldier’s Death in Iraq Is Revived-AP

 

Burn-pit claimants will appeal judge’s dismissal

Patricia Kime – (Air Force Times) – June 4, 2013 – Attorneys representing former troops and family members who say they were sickened by exposure to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are appealing a judge’s dismissal of their cases.

Alexandria, Va., lawyer Susan Burke and attorneys from the South Carolina firm Motley & Rice filed an appeal Wednesday arguing that Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus’s decision in February to toss out 57 consolidated lawsuits filed against KBR, Inc., was “non-justifiable.”

Titus ruled Feb. 28 that as a government contractor working in a war zone, KBR was entitled to the same legal protection and immunity as U.S. armed forces operating in combat. He also argued that the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on decisions made by another branch of government.

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We haven’t forgotten you Ryan!

SSG Ryan Maseth was electrocuted and died in his shower in Baghdad, Iraq on January 2, 2008. R.I.P. Ryan. ~Ms Sparky

Contractor KBR says it wasn’t at fault in soldier’s electrocution death

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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Court Revives Suit Over Electrocuted Guardsman

Larraine Mcgee holding a photo of her son SSG Chris Everett during a hearing about Iraq electrocutions

Cameron Langford – (Courthouse News) – March 1, 2012 – A defense contractor may be liable under Iraqi law for the electrocution death of a National Guardsman, the 5th Circuit ruled.
     
Sgt. Christopher Everett of the Texas Army National Guard was electrocuted at Camp Taqaddum in Iraq on Sept. 7, 2005, while using a power washer to clean a Humvee.
     
The Army attributed the 23-year-old’s fatal accident to an improperly grounded wire on the generator that supplied the power washer with electricity. It relayed these conclusions to Everett’s parents, Larraine McGee and Patrick Everett, in December.
     
Everett’s parents filed suit in Texas state court against contractors Arkel International, KBR Technical Services and Kellogg, Brown & Root Services in August 2008. They claimed to have only learned four months earlier about the alleged involvement of Arkel, a Baton Rouge-based company that maintained the generator at Everett’s base.
     
By September 2008, the couple filed identical claims in Louisiana state court.
     
Both cases were removed to federal courts, but the Louisiana case was stayed pending a ruling in the Texas proceedings.
     
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