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The Blackwater Killings Civil Suit I

Case File: Civil Lawsuit for the September 16th 2007 Killings

 

 

Estate of Himoud Saed Abtan et al vs. Erik Prince, Xe, Blackwater Worldwide et al

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Case No.: 1:09-cv-617-LMB-TRJ

Filed on June 2nd, 2009

 

Prior to June 2nd, 2009:

Estate of Himoud Saed Abtan et al vs. Blackwater USA, Erik Prince et al

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Case No.: 1:07-cv-01831-RBW

Filed on October 11th, 2007

Consolidated with Civil Suit II on March 28th, 2008

 

On July 17th, 2009 this case was consolidated with Blackwater Civil Cases, Nos. II, III, VI, VII, VIII & IX.

 

July 20th, 2009 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plantiffs’ First Amended Complaint

July 17th, 2009 - Order

July 1st, 2009 - First Amended Complaint

June 12th, 2009 - Order Granting Enlargement of Time for Defendants to Answer the Complaint

June 2nd, 2009 - Complaint

April 27th, 2009 - Memorandum Opinion

March 31st, 2009 - Memorandum Opinion

May 19th, 2008 - Reply in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint

May 7th, 2008 - Defendant’s Memorandum of Points and Authorities

April 29th, 2008 - Defendants’ Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss

April 28th, 2008 - Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint

April 25th, 2008 - Defendants’ Notice of Intention to Oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion

April 22nd, 2008 - Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion

April 8th, 2008 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Venue

March 28th, 2008 - Second Amended Complaint

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order II

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order I

March 7th, 2008 - Defendants’ Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint

February 19th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

January 22nd, 2008 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint for Lack of Venue

December 19th, 2007 - Order

December 12th, 2007 - Minute Order

December 12th, 2007 - Certificate Required by LCVR 7.1 of the Local Rules

December 12th, 2007 - Joint Stipulation & Proposed Order Re Service of Process & Scheduling

November 26th, 2007 - First Amended Complaint

October 11th , 2007 - Complaint

 

 

July 20th, 2009 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plantiffs’ First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), and 17(b)(3), Defendants hereby move to dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint. Dismissal is required for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiffs fail to state a claim under the Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350) or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-62, 1964), and without these claims there is no basis for federal jurisdiction; (2) the Complaint presents nonjusticiable political questions; (3) Plaintiffs fail to state a claim under applicable Iraqi law; (4) Plaintiffs’ claims must be dismissed under the government contractor defense; (5) Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by absolute immunity; (6) Plaintiffs have not established capacity to sue; (7) Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim against certain Defendants; and (8) Plaintiffs have sued a non-legal entity.

 

“The grounds for Defendants’ Motion are set forth more fully in the accompanying Memorandum of Law. […]”

 

July 17th, 2009 - Order

 

“[…] It appears from a review of the record that this case presents certain legal issues essentially identical to those presented in four additional civil matters also pending in this division, namely 1:09cv616, 1:09cv617, 1:09cv618 and 1:09cv645. It also appears that all of the plaintiffs in these five related matters are represented by the same counsel, as are all of the defendants.

 

“Accordingly, for the reasons stated from the Bench, and for purposes of judicial economy, It is hereby ordered that civil actions 1:09cv616, 1:09cv617, 1:09cv618 and 1:09cv645, which actions are currently assigned to other judges in this division, are reassigned to the undersigned district judge for the limited purpose of discovery and pre-trial motions.

 

“It is further ordered that this matter is consolidated with 1:09cv616, 1:09cv617, 1:09cv618 and 1:09cv645 for all pretrial purposes, including discovery and dispositive motions. Whether the matters will ultimately require separate trials to be presided over by the originally assigned judges is a question that will be addressed at a later date. […]

 

“It is further ordered that defendants’ motion to stay discovery […] is granted and discovery in each of these five consolidated civil actions is accordingly stayed pending resolution of the motions to dismiss filed by defendants in these matters.

 

“It is further ordered that a hearing on all motions to dismiss filed by defendants in these five consolidated civil actions is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Friday, August 28, 2009. […]”

 

July 1st, 2009 - First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Count Nine Against Defendant Erik Prince - Violations Of Rackeeter Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act (‘Rico’)

 

“114. The RICO Plaintiffs are Estates of Abtan, Abbass, Ali Khaleel, Abdulwahab Abdulqadir Al-Qalamchi, Sami Hawas Hamood, Fereed Waleed Hassoon, Bara’a Sa’adoon Ismael, Sameer Hoobi Jabbar, Mohammed Hassan Mohammed, Haider Ahmed Rabe’a, Hassan Jabir Salman, Estate of Mohamed Abbas Mahmoud, and Zuhair Najim Abbood Al-Mamouri.

 

“115. These RICO Plaintiffs all suffered property damage to their cars during the Nissor Square massacre. RICO 18 U.S.C. § 1964 (c).

 

“116. The RICO Plaintiffs bring claims under RICO 18 U.S.C. § 1962 (b) and (c) against Defendant Erik Prince. […]

 

“[…] 119. The Prince RICO Enterprise is an ongoing criminal enterprise that has been in existence since at least 2003. The conduct of the Prince RICO Enterprise demonstrates a pattern and practice of repeated illegality designed to create more wealth for Defendant Erik Prince and the Prince RICO Enterprise.

 

“120. There is no goal that accomplished, would bring this Prince RICO Enterprise to an end. Rather, as evidenced by a lengthy series of illegal acts - ranging from murder to tax evasion to destruction of evidence - Defendant Erik Prince and his RICO Enterprise will continue its racketeering unless stopped by this Court. […]”

 

June 12th, 2009 - Order Granting Enlargement of Time for Defendants to Answer Complaint

 

“[…] This matter having come before the Court on the Joint Motion of the parties for an enlargement of time, until and including July 13, 2009, within which Defendants may answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint, and good cause being shown therefor, it is hereby ordered that the motion is granted; and it is further ordered that Defendants shall file an answer or other response to the Complaint on or before July 13, 2009.

 

“So ordered. […]”

 

June 2nd, 2009 - Complaint

 

“[…] 43. Blackwater provides armed forces to protect Department of State personnel in Iraq. These mobile armed forces that accompany diplomats and others in need of protection are consistently referred to by Blackwater management and employees as ‘shooters.’

 

“44. On or about September 16, 2007, Blackwater shooters shot without justification and killed multiple innocent civilians.

 

“45. On or about September 16, 2007, Blackwater shooters shot without justification at and injured multiple innocent civilians.

 

“46. According to United States military and criminal investigators, none of the civilians was armed or taking offensive actions against the Blackwater shooters.

 

“47. As stated by a United States military official on site in Iraq, Blackwater’s conduct ‘was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong.’

 

“48. At the time of the shooting and killings in Nisoor Square, Blackwater shooters were not protecting any State Department official. The Blackwater shooters had already dropped off the State Department official under its protection prior to arriving in Nisoor Square.

 

“49. Reasonable discovery will establish that, after Blackwater shooters dropped off the State Department official they were guarding, the Tactical Operations Center (manned by both Blackwater and Department of State personnel) (‘TOC’), expressly directed the Blackwater shooters to stay with the official and refrain from leaving the secure area. Reasonable discovery will establish that the Blackwater shooters ignored these directives from the TOC. Reasonable discovery will establish that Blackwater personnel were obliged to follow directives from the TOC.

 

“50. Blackwater shooters had no legitimate reason to open fire on a crowd of innocent civilians. Blackwater shooters began firing without any provocation.

 

“51. Blackwater is responsible for the actions of its heavily-armed shooters acting in Iraq. […]”

 

April 27th, 2009 - Memorandum Opinion

 

“[…] ‘[I]t is entirely proper for this Court to hear [the p]laintiffs’ claims so long as they bear a substantial connection to the District of Columbia.’ […] It is unclear, however, from the plaintiffs’ pleadings and memoranda of law whether such a connection exists in these cases. The Court would therefore be well within its discretion to simply grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss or transfer and relieve itself of further consideration of this matter. But if the plaintiffs had formally requested venue discovery on the issue of the defendants’ purported written submissions transmitted to this jurisdiction at the outset of the case, they may well have satisfied the Court’s concerns about the ambiguity of their assertions. To penalize the plaintiffs for this failure on their part would unduly elevate the formal requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure over the substantive merits of the plaintiffs’ position, particularly given the plaintiffs’ request for venue discovery in their opposition to the defendants’ motion.

 

“The Court will therefore provide the plaintiffs with an additional opportunity to demonstrate the merits of their position in its fullest form. If the plaintiffs fail to adduce record evidence or seek venue discovery, or if the Court, having reviewed the plaintiffs’ motion for leave to take venue discovery, concludes that discovery is improper for some reason, then the Court will not hesitate to resolve forthwith the defendants’ motion. But the Court must make certain that the District of Columbia is not the proper venue for these cases before it dismisses or transfers them. The Court will therefore stay the defendants’ motion to dismiss or transfer and the plaintiffs’ motions for leave to file amended complaints for the limited purposes set forth above. […]”

 

March 31st, 2009 - Memorandum Opinion

 

“[…] In accordance with a memorandum opinion to be issued forthwith, it is ordered that the defendants’ motion to transfer or dismiss and the motion for leave to file an amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs in Abtan v. Blackwater Lodge and Training Ctr., Civil Action No. 07-1831 (RBW) (D.D.C.), are stayed. It is further ordered that the plaintiffs shall file either a supplemental memorandum of law in opposition to the defendants’ motion to transfer or dismiss consistent with the Court’s instructions in the forthcoming memorandum opinion referenced above or a motion for leave to take venue discovery consistent with those same instructions within thirty days of the date on which this order goes into effect. It is further ordered that this order shall not take effect until the Court issues the memorandum opinion referenced above. […]”

 

May 19th, 2008 - Reply in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Blackwater’s Opposition to the Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint does not provide this Court with any legally-sound reason to deny leave to amend at this early juncture. Blackwater does not - and cannot - demonstrate the presence of any of the ‘adverse factors’ required to oppose leave to amend: undue delay, bad faith, prejudice to the defendants, or futility of the amendment. […]

 

“Blackwater’s only legal argument - that spoliation cannot occur before a civil action is filed - is simply wrong. Lacking any legal basis to argue any of the Rule 15 adverse factors, Blackwater instead attacks the motives and personal integrity of lead counsel, claiming that victims’ counsel filed the motion to amend in bad-faith in order to ‘inject sensational and unfounded allegations’ into the record for publicity purposes. […]

 

“Such an attack is legally-irrelevant ‘table pounding’ of the type a Defendant uses when neither law nor facts support their argument. Nonetheless, because victims’ counsel has not had the privilege of appearing before this Court in the past, the following sets forth in detail why the victims’ legal team reached the reasoned conclusion that the victims needed to file a motion to amend. […]”

 

May 7th, 2008 - Defendant’s Memorandum of Points and Authorities

 

“[…] Plaintiffs have moved for leave to file yet another complaint - the fourth to date - in Case Number 1:07-cv-01831, Estate of Himoud Saed Abtan et al. v. Blackwater Worldwide et al. […] , seeking to add a count for ‘tortious spoliation of evidence’ […]. Plaintiffs’ proposed Third Amended Complaint contains groundless allegations of spoliation and improper destruction of evidence relating to (1) the government-authorized repair of damaged security vehicles in Iraq shortly after September 16, 2007, and (2) the supposed shredding of certain unidentified documents in North Carolina. […]. Because of the pendency of a motion to dismiss based on improper venue, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Amend should be denied without prejudice or deferred until after the Court resolves the venue issue.

 

“At the outset, Defendants feel compelled to respond to Plaintiffs’ brief, but inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading, account of correspondence between the parties before this Motion was filed. See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint (‘Memorandum’) […]. Rather than burden the Court by drawing attention to all the omissions and inaccuracies in Plaintiffs’ description of the events leading to the filing of this Motion, Defendants attach to this Opposition an email chain between counsel regarding this issue and invite the Court to review it. […]”

 

April 29th, 2008 - Defendants’ Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Given the obvious error Plaintiffs make in arguing for venue in this District under Section 1391(a)(3) and Section 1391(b)(2), this Court should dismiss both Complaints pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Plaintiffs make no effort to rebut or even engage the arguments for dismissal rather than transfer that Defendants made in their opening brief. […] Indeed, Plaintiffs persist in erroneously arguing against transfer under Section 1404(a). […] Defendants, however, have consistently argued for dismissal (or in the alternative transfer) under Section 1406(a). […]

 

“It is appropriate for this Court to dismiss (or in the alternative transfer) these cases under Section 1406(a) because that provision controls when a case is filed in a district, as here, where venue is improper, not merely inconvenient. Section 1404(a) applies by its own terms to transfers ‘to any other district or division where [the case] might have been brought.’ […] As demonstrated here and in Defendants’ opening brief, dismissal is appropriate because Plaintiffs have repeatedly - with three different filed complaints and a fourth proposed complaint in Abtan - made no effort to connect their allegations to any plausible basis for venue in this Court.

 

“Defendants respectfully request that the Court grant their Motion and enter an order dismissing in their entirety the Second Amended Complaint in Abtan and the Amended Complaint in Albazzaz; or, in the alternative, transferring both cases to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Plaintiffs concede that venue is proper. […]”

 

April 28th, 2008 - Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Blackwater has been destroying documents and other tangible evidence relating to the September 16, 2007, massacre in Nisoor Square, Iraq. This conduct constitutes tortious spoliation of evidence. The plaintiffs (both living victims of the massacre and the estates of the murdered victims) therefore seek leave from the Court under Rules 15(a) and 18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to file an amended complaint setting forth a spoliation claim as an additional count and grounds for damages. A proposed Order granting leave for the filing and the proposed Third Amended Complaint are attached. The parties have met and conferred, but Blackwater refuses to consent to the victims’ motion for leave to amend. […]

 

“(2) Shredding of documents - On or before March 18, 2008, Blackwater executives Gary Jackson and Dave Jackson, as well as unknown others, met in Blackwater’s North Carolina compound to discuss the company’s legal exposures arising from the ongoing governmental investigations. (Blackwater is under criminal investigation by the United States Attorneys in both the District of Columbia and North Carolina.) During that meeting, Blackwater executives directed that documents be shredded. After that meeting, Blackwater employees shredded an unknown number of documents that related to the company’s criminal and civil legal exposures. […]”

 

April 25th, 2008 - Defendants’ Notice of Intention to Oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion

 

“[…] Plaintiffs have filed a Motion For Leave To File A Third Amended Complaint in Case Number 1:07-cv-01831 (‘Motion’). Defendants Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc.; Blackwater Security Consulting, LLC; Blackwater Armor and Targets, LLC; Blackwater Airships, LLC; Blackwater Logistics, LLC; Raven Development Group, LLC; Greystone Limited; Prince Group LLC; EP Investments, LLC; and Erik Prince intend to file an Opposition to the Motion in accordance with Local Rule 7(b) and respectfully request that the Court defer consideration of the Motion until the Opposition is filed. […]”

 

April 22nd, 2008 - Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion

 

“[…] Defendants renew their attempt to dismiss or transfer this action to the Eastern District of Virginia, a neighboring jurisdiction located ten miles away with statutory limitations on punitive damages, because of Plaintiffs’ alleged ‘obvious error’ in their selection of the District of Columbia as the chosen forum. Despite the ‘error,’ this Court denied Defendants’ first motion to dismiss on identical grounds. The Second Amended Complaint in Abtan v. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center (SAC) and the Amended Complaint in Albazzaz v. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center (FAC) (together referred to as ‘Complaints’) joining new plaintiffs add no new facts and no new causes of actions. Defendants’ motion is simply a renewal and restatement of the earlier venue motion that this Court already denied. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ argument is essentially the same as in the Memorandum opposing Defendants’ motion to dismiss the earlier complaints. These actions belong in this District because acts and omissions culminating in the wanton and senseless killing of innocent persons occurred here in the District of Columbia. […]”

 

April 8th, 2008 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Venue

 

“[…] Defendants Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc.; Blackwater Security Consulting, LLC; Blackwater Armor and Targets, LLC; Blackwater Airships, LLC; Blackwater Logistics, LLC; Raven Development Group, LLC; Greystone Limited; Prince Group LLC; EP Investments, LLC; and Erik Prince (collectively, ‘Defendants’), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3) move for dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint in Estate of Himoud Saed Abtan v. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, No. 1:07-cv-01831, and the Amended Complaint in Estate of Ali Hussamaldeen Albazzaz v. Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, No. 07-cv-02273, for lack of venue. In the alternative, Defendants move for the transfer of these consolidated cases to the Eastern District of Virginia.

 

“As required by Local Rule 7(a), the reasons supporting this Motion are set forth in the attached Defendants’ Memorandum in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Venue the Second Amended Complaint in Case No. 1:07-cv-01831 and the Amended Complaint in Case No. 07-cv-02273. A Proposed Order is attached as required by Local Rule 7(c). Defendants have served counsel for Plaintiffs with copies of this Motion, the Memorandum and its supporting documents, and the Proposed Order. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Second Amended Complaint

 

“[…] 1. This action is being brought against the individual and corporate entities who operate under the name ‘Blackwater.’ Blackwater in all of its various corporate incarnations is actually a single private company wholly owned and personally controlled by a man named Erik Prince. Blackwater earns billions of dollars selling mercenary services.

 

“2. On September 16, 2007, heavily-armed Blackwater mercenaries (known in Blackwater parlance as ‘shooters’) working in Iraq began firing on a crowd of innocent civilians without justification, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Six Plaintiffs (Himoud Saed Abtan, Usama Fadhil Abbass, Oday Ismail Ibraheem, Dr. Mahasin Mohson Kadhum, Ahmed Hathem Al-Rubaie and Ali Khaleel) were among those killed in this massacre; eleven others (Talib Mutlaq Deewan, Abdulwahab Abdulqadir Al-Qalamchi, Mahdi Abdulkhudhir Abbass, Sami Hawas Hamood, Fereed Waleed Hassoon, Bara’a Sa’adoon Ismael, Sameer Hoobi Jabbar, Abdulameer Rahmeen Jehan, Mahammed Hassan Mahammed, Haider Ahmed Rabe’a and Hassan Jabir Salman) were among those seriously injured. This senseless slaughter on September 16, 2007, was only the latest incident in Blackwater’s lengthy pattern of egregious misconduct in Iraq.

 

“3. Blackwater created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life. This action seeks compensatory damages to compensate the injured and the families of those gunned down and killed by Blackwater shooters. This action seeks punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies for their repeated callous killing of innocents. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order II

 

Minute Order denying Motion to Dismiss; granting Motion for Leave to File. The Court having reviewed the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Amend, and it appearing to the Court that there is good cause to grant the relief requested therein in light of the limited amendment requested by the plaintiffs and early procedural posture of this case, it is ordered that the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to Amend is granted. It is further ordered that the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for Lack of Venue and to Dismiss Non-Legal Entities is denied without prejudice. It is further ordered that the defendants shall file their renewed motion to dismiss, answer, or other responsive motion on or before April 17, 2008. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/28/08.

 

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order I

 

In light of the responses of the parties to the Court’s minute order to show cause entered on March 14, 2008, in Albazzaz v. Blackwater Worldwide, Civil Action No. 07-2273 (RBW) (D.D.C.), it is ordered that this case is consolidated with Albazzaz v. Blackwater Worldwide, Civil Action No. 07-2273 (RBW) (D.D.C.), for purposes of pre-trial discovery and briefing. It is further ordered that the plaintiffs shall clarify the proper spelling of the last name of the lead plaintiff in this case on or before April 4, 2008. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/28/08.

 

March 7th, 2008 - Defendants’ Reply in Support of their Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Plaintiffs’ opposition brief offers invective, unsupported accusations, and hyperbole instead of legal argumentation. We will not burden the Court with detailed responses to Plaintiffs’ ad hominern attacks. Those attacks - which mirror the repeated public statements by Plaintiffs’ counsel - are irrelevant to the legal issue presented by the venue motion before this Court.

 

“Plaintiffs’ attempt to divert this Court's attention away from the relevant legal issue is understandable, however, given the lack of support for their effort to establish venue in this District. Defendants showed in their opening brief, Docket No. 9 (‘Defs. Br.’), that the Amended Complaint failed to establish any basis for venue in this Court. […]”

 

February 19th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] This is an action alleging that Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies are lawless mercenaries who have obtained federal government business under the false pretense of operating lawful enterprises. This is an action alleging that Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies wrongfully procured a contract and earned more than one billion dollars from the United States Department of State by making misrepresentations in this District. This is an action alleging that Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies wrongfully permitted ‘shooters’ known to be on steroids to repeatedly and routinely use excessive force against Iraqis. This is an action alleging that Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies are affirmatively misleading Congress about the extent of their consistent and excessive use of force.

 

“The District of Columbia, as the seat of the federal government (including the Department of State), is the place where a substantial number of acts and omissions critical to Plaintiffs’ claims occurred. Indeed, but for acts and omissions by Prince and the Blackwater companies in the District of Columbia, the innocents who lost their lives in Nisoor Square would be alive today. […]”

 

January 22nd, 2008 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Complaint for Lack of Venue

 

“[…] Defendants Blackwater Worldwide; Blackwater USA; Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc.; Blackwater Security Consulting, LLC; Blackwater Armor and Targets, LLC; Blackwater Airships, LLC; Blackwater Logistics, LLC; Blackwater Canine; Raven Development Group, LLC; Greystone Limited; Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC; Prince Group LLC; EP Investments, LLC; and Erik Prince (collectively, ‘Defendants’), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3) move for dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint for lack of venue or, in the alternative, for the transfer of this action to the Eastern District of Virginia. Defendants also move for dismissal of three named non-legal entities-Blackwater Worldwide, Blackwater USA, and Blackwater Canine-for lack of personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2); for lack of capacity to be sued, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(b); and for misjoinder of Parties, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 21 .

 

“As required by Local Rule 7(a), the reasons supporting this motion are set forth in the attached Defendants’ Memorandum in Support of Their Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint for Lack of Venue and to Dismiss Non-Legal Entities. A Proposed Order is also attached as required by Local Rule 7(c). Defendants have served counsel for Plaintiffs with copies of this Motion, the Memorandum and its supporting documents, and the Proposed Order. […]”

 

December 19th, 2007 - Order

 

“[…] It has come to the Court’s attention that counsel in this case have discussed various aspects of the case with members of the national news media. This Court’s local rules expressly provide that violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals by attorneys subject to those Rules ‘shall be grounds for discipline’ by this Court’s Committee on Grievances. […]

 

“To that end, the Court will not hesitate to enforce its local rules should it conclude that any attorney in this case has attempted to unduly prejudice the proceedings before it through untoward engagements with the national or local news media. The Court further expects that all counsel of record will conduct themselves in a manner becoming to an officer of this Court at all times, and that counsel will therefore focus their energies on proving their case in this Court - a court of law - rather than in the court of public opinion. […]”

 

December 12th, 2007 - Minute Order

 

“Re Stipulation filed by Blackwater Security Consulting, LLC, Blackwater Lodge And Training Center, Inc., Blackwater Airships, LLC, Greystone Limited, EP Investments, LLC, Erik Prince, Total Intelligence Solutions, LLC, Blackwater Logistics, LLC, Blackwater Armor And Targets, LLC, Blackwater Worldwide, Blackwater USA, Prince Group LLC, Raven Development Group, LLC, Blackwater Canine. In accordance with the parties’ Joint Stipulation Concerning Service of Process and Scheduling, it is ordered that the defendants shall file their answer(s) or responsive motion(s) on or before January 22, 2008. It is further ordered that the plaintiffs shall file their opposition(s), if any they wish to file, to any responsive motion(s) filed by the defendants on or before February 19, 2008. It is further ordered that the defendants shall file their reply memorandum or memoranda, if any they wish to file, in support of any responsive motion(s) filed by the defendants on or before March 7, 2008. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 12/12/07.”

 

December 12th, 2007 - Certificate Required by LCVR 7.1 of the Local Rules

 

“[…] I, the undersigned, counsel of record for the Defendants,1 certify to the best of my knowledge and belief, that there are no parent companies, subsidiaries, or affiliates of any of the Defendants which have any outstanding securities in the hands of the public. These representations are made in order that judges of this Court may determine the need for recusal. […]”

 

December 12th, 2007 - Joint Stipulation & Proposed Order Re Service of Process & Scheduling

 

“[…] The parties hereby agree and stipulate to the following: 1. Defendants agree to accept service and waive any and all service defects without any further process or request for waiver necessary on Plaintiffs’ part. 2. Defendants shall answer or otherwise move in response to the amended complaint by January 22, 2008. 3. Plaintiffs shall file a responsive pleading by February 19, 2008. 4. Defendants shall file a reply, if any, by March 7, 2008. The parties request that this Court adopt the proposed order attached hereto. […]”

 

November 26th, 2007 - First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] 23. Blackwater provides armed forces to protect Department of State personnel in Iraq. These mobile armed forces that accompany diplomats and others in need of protection are consistently referred to by Blackwater management and employees as ‘shooters.’

 

“24. On or about September 16, 2007, Blackwater shooters shot without justification and killed multiple innocent civilians, including Himoud Saed Abtan, Usama Fadhil Abbass, Oday Ismail Ibraheem Dr. Mahasin Mohson Kadhum and Ahmed Hathem Al-Rubaie, in and around a traffic circle known as Nisoor Square.

 

“25. On or about September 16, 2007, Blackwater shooters shot without justification at and injured multiple innocent civilians, including Talib Mutlaq Deewan and Abdulwahab Abdulqadir Al-Qalamchi, in and around the same location.

 

“26. According to United States military and criminal investigators, none of the civilians was armed or taking offensive actions against the Blackwater shooters.

 

“27. As stated by a United States military official on site in Iraq, Blackwater’s conduct ‘was obviously excessive, it was obviously wrong.’

 

“28. At the time of the shooting and killings in Nisoor Square, Blackwater shooters were not protecting any State Department official. The Blackwater shooters had already dropped off the State Department official under its protection prior to arriving in Nisoor Square.

 

“29. Reasonable discovery will establish that, after Blackwater shooters dropped off the State Department official they were guarding, the Tactical Operations Center (manned by both Blackwater and Department of State personnel) (‘TOC’), expressly directed the Blackwater shooters to stay with the official and refrain from leaving the secure area. Reasonable discovery will establish that the Blackwater shooters ignored these directives from the TOC. Reasonable discovery will establish that Blackwater personnel were obliged to follow directives from the TOC.

 

“30. Blackwater shooters had no legitimate reason to open fire on a crowd of innocent civilians. Blackwater shooters began firing without any provocation.

 

“31. One of Blackwater’s own shooters tried to stop his colleagues from indiscriminately firing upon the crowd of innocent civilians but he was unsuccessful in his efforts.

 

“32. Blackwater is responsible for the actions of its heavily-armed shooters acting in Iraq. The identities of the Blackwater shooters who killed and injured innocent persons on September 16, 2007, are known to Blackwater and able to be discovered in this litigation. […]

 

“35. Blackwater routinely sends heavily-armed ‘shooters’ into the streets of Baghdad with the knowledge that some of those ‘shooters’ are chemically influenced by steroids and other judgment-altering substances. Reasonable discovery will establish that Blackwater knew that 25 percent or more of its ‘shooters’ were ingesting steroids or other judgment-altering substances, yet failed to take effective steps to stop the drug use. Reasonable discovery will establish that Blackwater did not conduct any drug-testing of its ‘shooters’ before sending them equipped with heavy weapons into the streets of Baghdad. […]”

 

October 11th, 2007 - Complaint

 

“[…] 1. This action is being brought against the individual and corporate entities who operate under the name ‘Blackwater.’ Blackwater in all of its various corporate incarnations is actually a single private company wholly owned and personally controlled by a man named Erik Prince. Blackwater earns billions of dollars selling mercenary services.

 

“2. On September 16, 2007, heavily-armed Blackwater mercenaries working in Iraq began firing on a crowd of innocent civilians without justification, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Three Plaintiffs (Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass and Oday Ismail Ibraheem) were among those killed in this massacre; another (Talib Mutlaq Deewan) was among those seriously injured. This senseless slaughter on September 16, 2007, was only the latest incident in Blackwater’s lengthy pattern of egregious misconduct in Iraq.

 

“3. Blackwater created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life. This action seeks compensatory damages to compensate the injured and the families of those gunned down and killed. This action seeks punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish Erik Prince and his Blackwater companies for their repeated callous killing of innocents. […]

 

“6. Plaintiff is the Estate of Oday Ismail Ibraheem. Mr. Ibraheem was a resident of Baghdad until he was shot to death by Blackwater on September 16, 2007. He was the father of three children, one boy and two girls.

 

“7. Plaintiff Talib Mutlaq Deewan is a Baghdad resident who was seriously injured by Blackwater on September 16, 2007. He is the father of three boys and one daughter.

 

“8. Defendant Blackwater USA is a privately-held corporation formed in 1996 or 1997. Blackwater operates under a variety of names and in a variety of corporate forms, including, but not limited to, Blackwater Security Consulting LLC, Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc., Blackwater Canine, Blackwater Armor & Targets, Blackwater Logistics, Blackwater Airships, Raven Development, Aviation Worldwide Services, Presidential Airways, Inc., Greystone Limited, Total Intelligence Solutions LLC, and perhaps others. Reasonable discovery will establish that these entities are not actually separate and independent corporate structures and companies operating as distinct businesses. Rather, Blackwater in all of its various incarnations (hereinafter ‘Blackwater’) is owned and personally controlled by Erik Prince through the vehicle of The Prince Group LLC.

 

“9. Defendant The Prince Group LLC is a holding company that owns Blackwater in all of its various corporate incarnations. The Prince Group is owned by Erik Prince.

 

“10. Defendant Erik Prince owns The Prince Group LLC, which is the holding company that owns Defendant Blackwater in its various incarnations. […]”

 

 

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