Military Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan: Considerations and Obstacles for Emerging Litigation
This comment analyzes and discusses aspects of the ongoing KBR Burn Pit Litigation, an emerging toxic tort in the United States. The litigation is in response to alleged toxic smoke exposures from burn pits operated by government contactors at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The comment first discusses the alleged exposures and health concerns related to the inhalation of burn pit smoke. Next, the comment explains the regulatory framework surrounding the use of burn pits abroad and the incorporation of this framework into military logistics contracts. The comment next discusses the various legal challenges and obstacles Plaintiffs face in pursuing this not so garden-variety toxic tort case. There are many legal defenses uniquely present that overshadow the typical toxic tort hurdles, such as causation, because Defendants are government contractors. In the context of exploring the defenses, the type and scope of military contracts become relevant to establishing potential governmental contractor immunity because these are the contracts that Plaintiffs contend were breached with the negligent operation of burn pits. The comment concludes by suggesting that the tests available for evaluating liability under military logistics contracts are inadequate, resulting in unclear standards for a reviewing court to apply to Burn Pit Litigation claims.
Recommended CitationKate Donovan Kurera, Military Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan: Considerations and Obstacles for Emerging Litigation, 28 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 288 (2010)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol28/iss1/7