A federal judge has recently decided that most of the lawsuits claiming Houston-based KBR should have stopped a deadly 2004 supply truck convoy in Iraq, which killed six civilian drivers and wounded fourteen others, can move to trial; however, a May 24 trial date has been postponed to allow KBR time to file an appeal. The convoy drivers caught in the ambush were delivering fuel under KBR’s multibillion-dollar contract to serve meals, move supplies, construct bases, and provide other support services for American troops in the Middle East. The families of the victims in the lawsuits claim KBR knew in advance that the likelihood for attack was high and did nothing to cancel the convoys, though they had the power to.
While U.S. District Judge Miller dismissed the series of lawsuits, claiming the U.S. Army had control over KBR at the time making it not KBR’s fault, an appellate court rejected his opinion and sent the case back to him. This time, the judge allowed more evidence to be submitted against KBR, such as e-mails the plaintiffs say show KBR managers were aware of impending attacks and had the power to stop the supply convoys on April 9, 2004. Miller did not, however, agree that the evidence against KBR showed fault in the attacks on April 8, 2004. In February, Miller ruled on the behalf of the victims and their families and a trial was set for a later date.