Cases

Burn Pit Exposure

*We are no longer accepting new claims in this litigation.

We steadfastly believe that dedicating your life to your country doesn’t mean that your life should be put at completely at unnecessary risk, and that is what we alleged happened to U.S. military service members, veterans and civilian contractors when open-air burn pits were maintained on or near American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Jan. 14, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied our appeal in the burn pit litigation. This means, regrettably, that the litigation has reached the end in terms of being able to hold KBR accountable in a court of law for the damages and harm we believe they caused our veterans.

While Motley Rice is no longer accepting cases related to burn pit exposure, we encourage anyone affected to learn more about the legislative and other advocacy efforts that are ongoing related to this issue. At this time, the exclusive remedy for those who have been injured remains through the Veterans Administration for veterans injured through their service and through the Defense Base Act for contractor personnel. While we do not practice in those areas of law, your local state bar association is one resource you can use to find lawyers who can assist on those types of claims.

We are deeply disappointed in this result and the fact that the current law does not allow us to hold a government contractor accountable for this type of action, our gratitude and honor goes to you – the brave men and women who have been seemingly harmed by exposure to burn pits in defending our country and freedoms.

“For nearly a decade, we have been working in the court system to secure justice for our veterans who have come home and suffered from debilitating diseases as a result of their exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. As we alleged in our complaint, we believe over and over, KBR, a military contractor with the duty to handle waste on bases, did not do so with care. KBR operated burn pits that burned everything from plastics and human waste to car parts. We were honored to represent our veterans and are disappointed that the Supreme Court declined to hear this case.” Motley Rice attorneys Fred Baker and James Ledlie, with co-counsel Susan Burke.

Alleged burn pit locations

Burn Pit Exposure Symptoms

Exposure to harmful toxins in Iraq and Afghanistan may result in diagnoses and symptoms, including:       

  • Allergy-like symptoms
  • Asthma
  • Breathing restrictions
  • Cancers (including but not limited to lung, brain, bone and skin)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic coughs
  • Constant infections
  • Cramps and severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Nose bleeds
  • Pulmonary injuries
  • Restrictive Airways Disease (Bronchiolitis) 
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Severe headache
  • Skin infection
  • Sleep apnea
  • Throat infections
  • Ulcers
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Weeping lesions on extremities

*Note: this list is not inclusive of all potential symptoms or illnesses

A Brief History of Burn Pit Litigation

In 2010, the case Jobes v KBR, Inc. et al alleged that prolonged exposure to burn pits’ smoke, ash and fumes caused injuries such as chronic illnesses, risk of illnesses and wrongful death. The veterans and contract workers bringing the suit claimed that the contractors responsible for these open-air burn pits had a duty to warn them of the health and safety issues involved with working near the pits, but failed to do so. These lawsuits were consolidated in In re KBR Inc. Burn Pit Litigation before the Honorable Judge Roger W. Titus in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division.

This consolidation of lawsuits alleged that KBR, a government contractor, exposed American servicemembers and civilian contract workers to harmful fumes from its unauthorized use of open-air surface burning as a means to dispose of vast quantities of unsorted waste, including hazardous waste, medical waste, and human waste, at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Exposure to harmful fumes from these burn pits was alleged to have caused these American servicemembers and civilian contract workers to suffer various serious injuries. The burn pits addressed in the KBR lawsuits varied in size and location.

January 2019
U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari review of plaintiffs’ appeal in the burn pit litigation. Read the order.

September 2018
Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of certiorari, requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Read more.

July 2018
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denies request for a hearing en banc (full review of the court). Read the order.

June 2018
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denies request to allow claims to proceed in In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL. Read the order.

May 2018
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments on May 9, 2018 to determine whether the In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL may proceed. Listen to the arguments. 

July 2017
U.S. District Court Judge Roger W. Titus for the District of Maryland dismissed the burn pit lawsuits consolidated in In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL.

January 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down an interlocutory request by KBR to review the continuation of plaintiffs’ claims in the In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL  case.   

March 2014
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacates the district court’s decision and remands the In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation back to the district court for further proceedings.

February 2013
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismisses the burn pit lawsuits consolidated in the In re: KBR, Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL.

September 2010
Burn pit lawsuits across the country are consolidated in In re KBR Inc. Burn Pit Litigation MDL, and a motion by the defendants to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is denied by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Burn Pit Resources

The following links may be useful to those interested in learning more about burn pits and the burn pit litigation:

These resources are not meant to serve as legal advice and are not intended to foster an attorney-client relationship. They are strictly for convenience.

See more about Toxic Exposure