Tuesday, October 16, 2007
BNA Law Week reports a new decision from the 11th Circuit holding that military contractors do not enjoy the same immunity to suit as the US Government under Feres v. United States, 340 U.S.135 (1950). The case is McMahon v. Presidential Airways, Inc., No. 06-15303 (11th Circuit, 10/5/07). The lawsuit was brought by survivors of three soldiers who died in an airplane crash in Afghanistan. The court also held that the political question doctrine does not render the case non-justiciable, but did not rule on the question of whether a "sensitive military function" protects the contractor from suit.
My prediction is that suits by soldiers and civilians against military contractors will be a new type of mass tort, similar to the human rights class actions that have increased in number. We'll be seeing a military contractor Multi District Litigation in the very near future.