A federal judge denied an Army contractor KBR’s motion requesting dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the mother of a soldier who was electrocuted in the shower while serving in Iraq.
The lawsuit, filed by Cheryl Harris of Cranberry, accuses Houston-based contractor KBR of failing to maintain the electrical infrastructure in Baghdad. Ms. Harris’ son, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, an Army Ranger and Green Beret, was electrocuted as he showered on Jan. 2, 2008, while stationed there.
KBR attorneys had argued that decisions made by the Army insulated the private military contractor from prosecution.
U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer disagreed.
“This case does not involve claims arising from active military combat operations,” Judge Fischer said in her 56-page ruling. “The issues presented by [Ms. Harris’] claims involve the alleged negligent performance or non-performance of KBR in providing maintenance services to the United States Army.”
The lawsuit, she said, “asks this court and a jury to determine whether the work that KBR actually performed at the [complex] was substandard, negligent work that resulted in Ryan Maseth’s death.”
KBR attorneys also had argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because it could be a “potential embarrassment to the Army” and the U.S. government.
Judge Fischer, however, noted that “the Army has not sought to intervene in this action nor expressed any concerns to this court.”
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