Judge throws out soldiers' chemical exposure suit


Indianapolis - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that a defense contractor concealed from nearly 140 Indiana National Guard soldiers the risks of a cancer-causing chemical they may have been exposed to while serving in Iraq.

Thursday's ruling by the Indianapolis judge states only that his court lacks "personal jurisdiction" over Texas-based KBR Inc. and several related companies. Attorney Mike Doyle says the plaintiffs plan to file a new version of the lawsuit in another jurisdiction.

The Indiana soldiers allege KBR did not warn them in 2003 that a water-pumping plant site they helped guard near Basra, Iraq was covered in an industrial chemical that contains a carcinogen known to heighten the risk for cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract.

Restoring that plant was a key step to restoring Iraqi oil production.

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