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Employee contracts prevail, even in wartime

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent to arbitration a case against Blackwater Worldwide brought by the family members of four guards who were killed in Iraq.

The lawsuit accuses Blackwater of failing to give the guards sufficient equipment, information and personnel for their mission in Fallujah.

Blackwater argued that it is an extension of the U.S. military and thus immune from lawsuits like the one the families filed. The court took a different tack, saying it lacked jurisdiction to override the Moyock-based company’s employee contracts, which require arbitration of employment-related matters.

The court’s decision will effectively shield the case from public scrutiny.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Marc Miles, told the Associated Press, “While the families still strongly believe in their right to have their day in court, there will be some satisfaction in finally having a trial of this matter and Blackwater’s wrongful conduct exposed, albeit in an arbitration proceeding.”

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