A federal appeals court ruled last week that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of four private security guards killed in Iraq can remain in state court in North Carolina. The four men were brutally slain in an ambush by insurgents while escorting a food delivery to a US Army Base in 2004.
Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater Security Consulting claimed the case belongs in federal court because of the Defense Base Act, which limits death benefits for contractors working overseas. North Carolina courts allow compensatory and punitive damages in wrongful death suits.
In a lawsuit filed in state court in January 2005, the guards’ families alleged Blackwater cut corners that led to the men’s deaths. The workers were sent into Fallujah without proper equipment and personnel to defend the supply convoy, the lawsuit said.
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