Five Casper military veterans filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging they were exposed to toxic fumes when a Houston-based corporation improperly burned waste during the war in Iraq.
Ochs Law Firm filed the suit against KBR Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. The suit is believed to be the first toxic burn pit case filed in Wyoming, according to the Casper-based law office.
The suit states KBR was hired to handle waste disposal for American operations in Iraq. KBR failed to take necessary safety precautions and incinerated unsorted waste, including chemicals, in burn pits, exposing the soldiers to health-damaging toxins, the suit claims.
The veterans named in the suit are Terrance Sordahl, Keith Jones, Laura Jones, James W. Savino III and Julia Savino.
“It is imperative that our Wyoming-US soldiers be given the voice and legal remedies they deserve,” attorney Jason Ochs said in a news release.
A phone call to KBR's headquarters in Houston, Texas, was not returned Friday.
The veterans are suffering from respiratory health problems including bronchial infections, upper respiratory infections, shortness of breath, wheezing, inability to exercise for extended periods of time and gag-reflex issues, according to the suit.
Several soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with tumors, the lawsuit claims. The Veteran Affairs Medical Centers have created a “burn pit registry,” which the Casper veterans are a part of.
The lawsuit asserts no limitations were put on the waste that was dumped into the burn pits. The waste included human corpses and body parts, medical supplies and waste, metals, hydraulic fluids, munitions boxes, paints, solvents, polyvinyl chloride pipes, plastics, pesticides and batteries.
According to the lawsuit, the smoke from the burn pits was sometimes blue or green and very thick.
The suit alleges KBR’s managers knew the dangers of the burn pits.
The lawsuit requests monetary relief from KBR for medical expenses, pain and suffering and emotional distress.