Blackwater and Malpractice
Washington Post (2008-01-27) Robert Oharrow Jr.
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Blackwater has filed a $30 million malpractice suit against the high-powered team of lawyers the firm hired to defend against a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of the Fallujah Four, according to a story Friday by the Legal Times.
The complaint accused the lawyers at Wiley Rein -- including current White House counsel Fred Fielding and Margaret Ryan, now a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Armed Forces, both then in private practice -- of "sloppy pleading" that prevented Blackwater from properly defending itself.
"The wrongful death suit was filed in Wake County Superior Court by families of Stephen Helvenston, Mike Teague, Jerko Zovko and Wesley Batalona -- the four Blackwater guards whose brutal killings in Fallujah in 2004 were captured on video and broadcast around the world," the Legal Times story said. "The men were beaten, burned and decapitated. Images of their bodies hanging from a bridge over the Euphrates River provoked outrage in the United States."
The lawsuit is the latest of many twists and turns in the story of Blackwater's sudden rise as a federal contractor -- and, dare I say, as the embodiment of a zeitgeist?
Though news about Blackwater has abated somewhat, the company continues to play a prominent and lucrative role providing security to government officials and facilities in Iraq and other countries around the world. Some of its forces are under investigation by the Justice Department for a shooting episode in September that killed at least 17 Iraqi citizens.
By Robert O'Harrow | January 27, 2008; 7:00 AM ET iraq