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The Blackwater Killings Civil Suit II

Case File: Civil Lawsuit for the September 9th 2007 Killings

 

 

Estate of Ali Ibrahim Albazzaz 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-616-JCC-JFA

Filed on June 2nd, 2009

 

Prior to June 2nd, 2009:

Estate of Ali Hussamaldeen Albazzaz vs. Blackwater USA, Erik Prince et al

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Case No.: 1:07-cv-02273-RBW

Filed on December 19th, 2007

 

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

 

July 17th, 2009 - Order

July 13th, 2009 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint

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

June 11th, 2009 - Defendants’ Financial Interest Disclosure Statement

June 2nd, 2009 - Complaint

March 28th, 2008 - Entry

March 28th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order

March 21st, 2008 - Defendants’ Response to the Order to Show Cause

March 14th, 2008 - Minute Order to Show Cause

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

January 2nd, 2007 - Certificate Required by LCVR 7.1 of the Local Rules

January 2nd, 2007 - Joint Stipulation & Proposed Order Re Service of Process & Scheduling

December 19th, 2007 - Complaint

 

 

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 13th, 2009 - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint

 

“[…] Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), 17(b)(3), and 21, Defendants hereby move to dismiss Plaintiffs’ 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) and without this claim 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 in the accompanying Memorandum of Law. […]”

 

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 11th, 2009 - Defendants’ Financial Interest Disclosure Statement

 

“[…] Accordingly, the representations below are made on behalf of Prince Group LLC; Xe Services LLC; Greystone LTD; Total Intelligence Solutions LLC; U.S. Training Center, Inc.; GSD Manufacturing LLC; Blackwater Security Consulting LLC; and Raven Development Group LLC (collectively, ‘Defendants’).

 

“2. Defendants have no parents, subsidiaries, or affiliated entities (corporate or otherwise) that have issued stock or debt securities to the public, nor are there any publicly entities (corporate or otherwise) that own 10% or more of the stock in any of the Defendants.

 

“3. None of the Defendants are partnerships, general or limited. The following [are] the owners or members of a Defendant, excluding other Defendants, that are non-publicly traded entities such as LLCs or other closely held entities: Samarus CO LTD. […]”

 

June 2nd, 2009 - Complaint

 

“[…] 17. On September 9, 2007, Blackwater shooters, whose identities are known to Defendants and are capable of being ascertained through discovery, used excessive force without justification and killed Plaintiffs in and around Al Watahba Square, Baghdad.

 

“18. The September 9, 2007, massacre was not an isolated instance of misconduct by Xe-Blackwater. Xe-Blackwater has a pattern and practice of recklessness in the use of deadly force. Xe-Blackwater has created and fostered a corporate culture in which excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force by its employees is not investigated or punished in any way.

 

“19. Xe-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.

 

“20. Through their acts and omissions, Xe-Blackwater management encouraged shooting innocent Iraqis. Xe-Blackwater management refused to fire or discipline ‘shooters’ who murdered innocent Iraqis. ‘Shooters’ known to have committed ‘bad shoots’ (i.e. murder) would not even be placed on the ‘do not use’ list. Instead, Xe-Blackwater would continue to rehire and deploy ‘shooters’ known to have killed innocents for no reason.

 

“21. Xe-Blackwater captured much of the illegal conduct on videotape and audiotape. At times, Xe-Blackwater would even review the illegal conduct in a review called a ‘hot wash.’ Xe-Blackwater, however, did not report or punish the illegal conduct of its mercenaries. Instead, Xe-Blackwater intentionally destroyed the evidence of illegal conduct, and encouraged the mercenaries to do the same. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Entry

 

Case consolidated pursuant to order filed on 3/28/08. All filings are to made in the lead case No. 07-CV-1831.

 

March 28th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Amend

 

“[…] Plaintiff hereby moves the Court pursuant to Rules 15(a), 20 and 21 of the Rules of Civil Procedure for leave to amend his complaint. As set forth in the accompanying memorandum of points and authorities, the proposed First Amended Complaint adds the Estate of Kadhum Kayiz Aziz. Mr. Aziz was shot and killed by Blackwater during the September 9, 2007, massacre. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Minute Order

 

Based upon the response of the parties to the Court’s minute order to show cause entered on March 14, 2008, and in accordance with a minute order entered this same date in Atban v. Blackwater USA, Civil Action No. 07-1831 (RBW) (D.D.C.), it is ordered that this case is consolidated with Atban v. Blackwater USA, Civil Action No. 07-1831 (RBW) (D.D.C.), for purposes of pre-trial discovery and briefing. It is further ordered that future filings in these consolidated cases shall be made in the first instance in Atban v. Blackwater USA, Civil Action No. 07-1831 (RBW) (D.D.C.), and “spread” to this docket by the parties using the Court’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing system once consolidation has been effectuated by the Clerk of the Court. It is further ordered that this case is administratively closed unless and until the case proceeds to trial, at which time the case shall be re-opened. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/28/08.

 

March 21st, 2008 - Defendants’ Response to the Order to Show Cause

 

“[…] The Court entered an order on March 14, 2008, instructing the parties to show cause why this case should not be consolidated with Abtan et al. v. Blackwater Worldwide et al., Case No. 1:07-cv-01831, also pending before the Court. Defendants do not oppose consolidation of this case with the Abtan case for purposes of pretrial discovery and proceedings. Defendants do, however, oppose consolidation for purposes of trial. […]”

 

March 14th, 2008 - Minute Order to Show Cause

 

In the interests of judicial economy, it is ordered that on or before March 21, 2008, the parties shall show cause, if any they wish to assert, why the Court should not consolidate this case with Atban v. Blackwater USA, Civil Action No. 07-1831 (RBW) (D.D.C.). Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/14/08.

 

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 Al Watahba Square on September 9 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. […]”

 

January 2nd, 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. […]”

 

January 2nd, 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. […]”

 

December 19th, 2007 - Complaint

 

“[…] 2. On September 9, 2007, heavily-armed Blackwater mercenaries (known in Blackwater parlance as ‘shooters’) working in Iraq fired, without justification, on a crowd of innocent Iraqi civilians in and around Al Watahba Square resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Plaintiff Ali Hussamaldeen Ibrahim Albazzaz was among those killed in this massacre. This senseless slaughter on September 9, 2007, was only one in a series of recent incidents in Blackwater’s lengthy pattern of egregious misconduct in Iraq resulting in the deaths of innocent Iraqis.

 

“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 family of Mr. Albazzaz, who was 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. […]

 

“4. Plaintiff is the Estate of Ali Hussamaldeen Ibrahim Albazzaz. Mr. Albazzaz was a resident of Baghdad until he was shot to death by Blackwater shooters on September 9, 2007. He was the father of a newborn baby daughter. […]

 

“18. On or about September 9, 2007, Blackwater shooters shot, without justification, and killed five innocent civilians, including Ali Hussamaldeen Ibrahim Albazzaz, in and around Al Watahba Square. Mr. Albazzaz was standing outside his rug store near Al Watahba Square when he was gunned down by Blackwater shooters. Numerous other innocent civilians were killed and injured in the incident.

 

“19. Blackwater is responsible for the reckless actions of its heavily-armed shooters acting in Iraq. The identities of the Blackwater shooters who killed and injured innocent persons on September 9, 2007, are known to Blackwater and able to be discovered in this litigation. […]”

 

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