The Washington Post reports that the security company formerly known as Blackwater, now known as Academi, has settled with the survivors and estates of victims of the 2007 shooting incident in Baghdad, Iraq. This was the last in a series of lawsuits brought by Iraqis for the deaths and injuries of other Iraqi citizens. The incident sparked a nationwide debate about the war in Iraq and the implications of armed American personnel in that country.
According to the suit, Blackwater guards were protecting several U.S. diplomats while they were in Iraq. The guards suddenly opened fire in a crowded square. The incident resulted in the death of 17 Iraqis, some of whom were women and children. Iraqi distaste for America and American involvement in their country only increased following the shooting. A North Carolina attorney, Jim Roberts, represented the families of three individuals killed in the shooting, one of them, a nine-year-old child.
The suit charged Blackwater and its contractors with wrongful death and negligence in the death of three individuals. Initially, Blackwater’s lawyers vigorously denied that their client was liable for the death of these people. They argued that because the Blackwater guards were protecting United States diplomats, they were agents of the federal government. Therefore, if anyone was liable it would be the federal government. They also argued that Blackwater could not be sued in the United States by foreign citizens for something that happened abroad.
Academi also settled a suit filed back in 2005 by the families of several Blackwater employees who were killed in an ambush back in 2004. That suit also alleged that Blackwater was liable for the wrongful death of the contractors.
It’s unclear what sparked the change in strategy at the company, why they decided to settle after so long a fight, but it is likely that the new company wants to move on without the stigma of these lawsuits hanging over its head.
Criminal charges were also filed based on the 2007 incident, but because the government failed to do what it was required to do, the charges were dismissed. Although Vice President Biden said that the government would appeal the decision to dismiss the charges, no action has yet been taken.
Taking on a powerful multi-national corporation like Blackwater is hard work. The attorneys are Arnold & Smith, PLLC are trained in complex litigation and will are able to fight to get you the civil justice that you deserve. If you or someone you know requires the expertise of a Charlotte personal injury lawyer, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704-370-2828 for a free consultation.
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