WASHINGTON, Sept 21 A U.S. appeals court on
Wednesday dismissed lawsuits claiming employees of two defense
contractors conspired to torture and abuse Iraqis at the Abu
Ghraib prison near Baghdad and at other locations.
The court ruled for CACI International Inc (CACI.N), which
helped conduct interrogations at Abu Ghraib, and L-3
Communications Holdings Inc (LLL.N), which provided translators
to the U.S. military for questioning Iraqi detainees at various
One lawsuit was filed by 72 Iraqis while the other was
brought by four Iraqis.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in
Richmond, Virginia, held the claims were pre-empted by federal
law and must be dismissed. It also cited a ruling in 2009 by a
U.S. appeals court in Washington, D.C., in a similar lawsuit
against the two companies.
The U.S. Supreme Court in June let stand that appeals court
ruling that threw out the lawsuit because the companies had
immunity as government contractors and because the suit was
pre-empted by U.S. national security and foreign policy law.
In one ruling, the appeals court said a federal judge erred
in holding that dismissal of the lawsuit now would be premature
and that the CACI's claim of immunity must be developed through
the discovery of evidence.
In the other case, the appeals court reversed a different
federal judge who had ruled against L-3. The judge ruled it was
too early to dismiss the lawsuit because discovery of evidence
might end up supporting the plaintiffs' position the
translators were operating outside U.S. government authority.
The appeals court cases are Suhail Najim Abdullah Al Shimari
v. CACI, No. 09-1335, and Wissam Abdullateff Sa'eed Al-Quraishi
v. L-3 Services, No. 10-1891.
(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Cynthia Osterman)