April 27, 2010, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights and its co-counsel asked the Supreme Court to take up the case against CACI and L-3 Services (formerly Titan), two corporations whose employees participated in the infamous torture of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib.
The lawyers argued that the Supreme Court should hear the case because the Court of Appeals decision of September 11, 2009, gave corporate government contractors more protections than even U.S. soldiers enjoy, and constituted judicial overreaching. The lawyers also argued that the military’s own investigations had found CACI and L-3 employees participated in the torture, humiliation and dehumanization of the Iraqi civilians detained at Abu Ghraib. Finally, the lawyers argued that corporations could be held liable for war crimes, including torture, under international law.
Saleh v. Titan, first filed in 2004, is a federal lawsuit brought by more than 250 former Iraqi prisoners against private contractors CACI and L-3 Services that alleges the companies’ employees participated in torture and serious abuses while they were hired to provide interrogation and interpretation services, respectively, at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities in Iraq.
The suit charges defendants with torture and other war crimes, as well as common law torts including sexual assault and battery, and negligent hiring and supervision. The acts to which the plaintiffs alleged they were subjected at the hands of the defendants and certain government co-conspirators include: rape and threats of rape and other forms of sexual assault; being forced to watch a family member tortured and abused so badly that he died; repeated beatings, including beatings with chains, boots and other objects; forced nudity; hooding; being detained in isolation; being urinated on and otherwise humiliated
On November 6, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson denied CACI's motion for summary judgment and ordered a jury trial against CACI. CACI appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In the same Order, Judge Robertson granted Titan's motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case against Titan.
On September 11, 2009, in a 2-1 decision, a panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of all claims against Titan/L-3, and, reversing the district court’s decision, also dismissed all claims against CACI. Judge Merrick Garland, in his lengthy dissent, critiqued the “breadth of the protective cloak” that the majority “cast over the activities of private contractors.”
Said Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Katherine Gallagher, “This petition is filed nearly six years to the date that the world learned of the horrors to which our plaintiffs and other Iraqi detainees were subjected at Abu Ghraib. To date, they have had no redress and no opportunity to have their claims heard. The private contractors who participated in their torture and abuse cannot be placed outside the law, and must be held to account for their role in the atrocities at Abu Ghraib.”
The victims are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, and law firms Burke PLLC, Motley Rice LLC, Akeel & Valentine, P.C , The Law Firm of L. Palmer Foret, P.C. and Edmond Jones Lindsay, LLP.
For further background and documents, visit the Saleh et al v. Titan et al case page.