May 18, 2012
Appellate Jurisdiction and Abu Ghraib
A few days ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an en banc decision in lawsuits brought against two military contractors by individuals detained at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The contractors had moved to dismiss the claims on several grounds, but these motions were denied by the lower courts. The three-judge Fourth Circuit panel agreed with the contractors and reversed.
Now the en banc Fourth Circuit has dismissed the case for lack of appellate jurisdiction, rejecting the contractors’ argument that the collateral order doctrine allows an immediate appeal of the district courts’ rulings. The decision is Al Shimari v. CACI International (No. 09-1335). The vote is 11-3, with Judge King writing the majority opinion (36 pages). There are two dissenting opinions written by Judge Wilkinson (40 pages) and Judge Niemeyer (35 pages), as well as two brief concurring opinions by Judge Duncan and Judge Wynn.
(Hat Tip: Jonathan Hafetz)