Abu Ghraib Contractor Still Faces Potential Tort Liability for Alleged Detainee Abuse

The Iraq War is still being fought, but in the federal courts rather than on foreign battlefields.  On October 21, 2016, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued what is probably the most refined and nuanced opinion of any federal court on the question of whether the political question doctrine bars adjudication of suits seeking to impose tort liability on civilian contractors that assist the U.S. military carry out war-zone operations. 

That opinion, authored by Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan in Al Shimari v. CACI Premier Technology, Inc., No. 15-1831, is the latest in a succession of opinions rendered by the Fourth Circuit during the past five years in tort litigation brought by Iraqi nationals who allege that they were abused by CACI interrogators while detained by the U.S. military at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad during the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-2004.

Click here to read my Law360 summary and analysis of the court’s opinion.

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