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Al-Quraishi et al v. Nakhla et al.

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Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla is a federal lawsuit against US-based private contractor L-3 Services, Inc. (formerly Titan Corporation) and Adel Nakhla, a former employee of Titan/L-3 Services.  Brought on behalf of 72 Iraqi Plaintiffs, it brings claims of torture, war crimes and other serious abuse against both L-3 Services and Nakhla for their participation in a conspiracy to torture detainees at prisons in Iraq, including at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.


On July 29, 2010, in a 92-page decision, Judge Peter J. Messitte denied Defendants' motions to dismiss. 

On September 21, 2011, a 2-1 majority of a panel of the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court and ordered the case dismissed.  In the majority were Judges Paul V. Niemeyer and Dennis W. Shedd.  Judge Robert B. King found that the court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. On October 5, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a petition for rehearing en banc and on October 6 and Defendants responded.

On November 8, 2011, the Fourth Circuit issued an order granting the petition for rehearing en banc.

On November 23, 2011, L-3 filed its en banc opening brief. Plaintiffs filed their en banc opposition brief on December 10, 2011, and amicus briefs supporting Plaintiffs were filed on December 19 and 20th.

Oral argument before the en banc panel took place on January 27, 2012. To listen to the oral argument, click here.

On May 11, 2012, the en banc panel, in an 11-3 decision, issued an order dismissing the appeal and remanding the case to the district court.

On October 10, 2012, following the parties reaching a confidential settlement, plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal of the case was approved.


Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla was brought against L-3 Services Inc. (formerly Titan Corporation) and CACI International Inc., the U.S. government contractors at Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq, as well as former contractor Adel Nakhla. CACI International Inc. has since been dismissed as a Defendant in the case. The complaint alleges that L-3 Services and Adel Nakhla, a former translator employed by L-3 Services, directed and participated in torture and other illegal conduct  at prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The suit, brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and federal question jurisdiction, charges Defendants with violations of U.S. and international law including torture; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; war crimes; assault and battery; sexual assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent hiring and supervision; and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Further, attached to most of these charges are counts of civil conspiracy and aiding and abetting. Through this action, Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Among the heinous acts to which the 72 Plaintiffs were subjected at the hands of the Defendants and certain government co-conspirators were: rape and threats of rape and other forms of sexual assault; electric shocks; repeated beatings, including beatings with chains, boots and other objects; prolonged hanging from limbs; forced nudity; hooding; isolated detention; being urinated on and otherwise humiliated; and being prevented from praying and otherwise abiding by their religious practices.

The named Plaintiff, Wissam Abdullateef Sa’eed Al-Quraishi, a 37-year-old married father of three, was hung on a pole for seven days at the infamous Abu Ghraib “hard site” and subjected to beatings, forced nudity, electrical shocks, humiliating treatment, mock executions and other forms of torture during his incarceration at the prison.

Another Plaintiff, Mr. Al-Janabi, was repeatedly and gravely tortured at Abu Ghraib prison. Mr. Al-Janabi was subjected to various modes of torture, including having his eyes almost clawed out, being stripped naked and threatened with rape, being hung upside down until he lost consciousness, and being deprived of sleep for extended periods of time. Like the other Plaintiffs, Mr. Al-Janabi was released after enduring over ten months of torture and other abuse without being charged with any crime.



• June 30, 2008: Wissam Abdullateef Sa’eed Al-Quraishi filed a complaint against Adel Nakhla, L-3 Services, CACI International Inc. and CACI Premier Technology, Inc. and in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, Greenbelt Division.

• August 13, 2008: Plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss CACI Defendants without prejudice granted.

• September 5, 2008: Plaintiffs filed Amended Complaint. 

• September 8, 2008: L-3 Services filed motion to transfer venue to the Eastern District of Virginia.

• October 1, 2008: Plaintiffs filed Second Amended Complaint.

• October 2, 2008: Plaintiffs filed their opposition to L-3 Services’ motion to transfer.

• October 17, 2008: L-3 Services replied to the Plaintiffs’ response to the motion to transfer.

• November 12, 2008: Judge Peter J. Messitte granted Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the complaint.

• November 26, 2008: Adel Nakhla and L-3 Services filed motions to dismiss.

• January 2 , 2009: Plaintiffs filed responses in opposition to Defendants’ motions to dismiss.

• January 26, 2009: L-3 Services and Adel Nakhla filed replies to the responses to the motions to dismiss.

• March 9, 2009: A hearing on the motions to dismiss the case took place before Judge Peter J. Messitte.

• July 29, 2010: Defendants' motions to dismiss denied. Case to proceed to discovery.

• August 4, 2010: Defendant L-3 filed a notice of appeal, asserting the Fourth Circuit has jurisdiction over the appeal pursuant to the collateral order doctrine.

• September 2, 2010: Defendants L-3 and Nakhla filed their brief on appeal.

• September 22, 2010: Plaintiffs filed Appeal Brief.

• September 30, 2010: Defendants file Reply Brief.

• October 15, 2010:  Court of Appeals grants leave to file amicus brief.

• October 18, 2010: Amicus brief filed by Earthrights International.

• October 21, 2010: Defendants' Supplemental Reply brief filed.

• October 26, 2010: Oral argument heard by a panel of the Fourth Circuit.

• March 11, 2011:  Order staying the proceedings pending resolution of the petition for certiorari filed in the Supreme Court in Saleh v Titan.

• September 21, 2011: 2-1 majority of the Fourth Circuit find that Plaintiffs' state law claims should be preempted and the case be dismissed.

• October 5, 2011: Plaintiffs filed a petition for rehearing en banc.

• October 6, 2011: The Fourth Circuit requested that Defendants respond to Plaintiffs' petition for rehearing en banc by October 17, 2011.

• October 17, 2011: Defendants filed their response to the petition for rehearing en banc.

• November 8, 2011: The Fourth Circuit issued an order granting the petition for rehearing en banc, and scheduled orgal argument for the January 24-27, 2012 session.

• November 23, 2011: L-3 filed its en banc opening brief.

• December 14, 2011: Plaintiffs filed their en banc opposition brief. 

• December 20, 2011: Retired Military officers, Professors of Civil Procedure and Federal Courts, and International Human Rights organizations and experts filed amicus briefs in supoprt of Plaintiffs-Appellees and affirmance of the district court decision. 

• January 14, 2012: US amicus brief is filed.

• January 20, 2012: L-3 filed its response to the USG amicus brief.

• January 24, 2012: Plaintiffs filed their response to the USG amicus brief.

• January 27, 2012: Oral argument before the Fourth Circuit en banc panel took place. To listen to the oral argument, click here.

May 11, 2012: En banc panel dismissed the appeal and remands case to district court.

October 10, 2012: Judge Messittee approved plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal of the case.

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