For Immediate Release
Abu Ghraib Victims Ask Supreme Court to Hear Case Against Contractors CACI and L-3
WASHINGTON - 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.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.