* Lawsuit filed in 2004 over Abu Ghraib jail mistreatment
* At issue is whether military contractors have immunity
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON, Oct 4 The Supreme Court on Monday
asked the U.S. government for its views about a lawsuit
claiming that employees of two defense contractors took part in
the torture and abuse of Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison in
A group of Iraqis appealed to the high court seeking to
reinstate their lawsuit against CACI International Inc
(CACI.N), which provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib, and L-3
Communications Holdings Inc's (LLL.N) Titan unit, which
provided interpreters to the U.S. military.
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 on behalf of the Iraqis who
say they or their relatives had been tortured or mistreated
while detained by the U.S. military at the Abu Ghraib prison
outside Baghdad. They said contractor employees participated in
the abuse, a claim denied by the companies.
A federal appeals court dismissed the lawsuit because the
companies had immunity as government contractors. It also said
the suit was pre-empted by U.S. national security and foreign
In appealing to the Supreme Court, attorneys for the Iraqis
argued that victims of torture may proceed with lawsuits
against private parties, and that corporations can be held
liable for torture under international law.
But attorneys for CACI and L-3 opposed the appeal, said the
appeals court's rejection of the claims was correct, and argued
that further review of the case by the Supreme Court was
On the first day of its new term, the Supreme Court issued
a brief order asking the Justice Department to file a brief in
the case expressing the views of the U.S. government.
(Editing by Will Dunham)