X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Nine years after filing a lawsuit on behalf of 5,000 sick Gulf War veterans, a Texas attorney plans to take his legal battle against companies that allegedly helped arm Iraq to New York, with new information. Houston attorney Gary Pitts, who is suing 68 corporations, including three based in the United States, said he will soon be filing an additional class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to add companies that have been cited in newly revealed Iraqi documents. Pitts, of Houston’s Pitts & Associates, claimed that he recently obtained from Iraq a list of 56 alleged international suppliers of equipment and material needed to make weapons of mass destruction. The list included three American firms that had already been named in the Texas suit. Pitts said those companies will not be added to the New York lawsuit, which will include companies from Germany, France and Switzerland. Pitts said all of those firms do business in the United States, and can be sued in New York. The New York firm handling the case will be McCallion & Associates, which has handled several high-profile cases, including the Exxon Valdez case. Ken McCallion declined to comment. Pitts and Michael Maloney, of Houston’s Maloney, Martin & Mitchell, are representing the veterans in a $1 billion lawsuit claiming they became ill due to exposure to chemical or biological weapons in Iraq during the first Gulf War. The suit is a personal-injury class action alleging negligence and products liability combined with a conspiracy with Saddam Hussein’s regime to violate international law concerning chemical weapons, Pitts said. Coleman v. ABB Lummus Crest, No. 94-C-1392 (Brazoria Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). Pitts said the suit, filed in 1994, was delayed as they waited for medical research to catch up and link the symptoms of Gulf War syndrome to nerve gas exposure. Pitts said he ultimately obtained the list of companies with the help of a former United Nations inspector who visited Baghdad in September and brought the list back to Pitts. According to Pitts, the alleged American suppliers are identified as the now-defunct Al Haddad Trading in Nashville, Tenn., accused of selling precursors for nerve gas, and ABB Lummus Crest, accused of providing lab equipment. Pitts said Lummus’ present location is unknown. The third U.S. company on the list is the now-defunct Alcolac, which was based in Brazoria, Texas, accused of providing Iraq with 500 tons of thiodyglycol, a chemical used to make mustard gas. NO ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE? H. Ronald Welsh, an attorney for France-based Rhone-Poulenc Inc., which purchased Alcolac in 1990 and then later dissolved it, denies any wrongdoing by Alcolac. “Alcolac International did not sell thiodyglycol to Iraq, knowingly or otherwise,” said Welsh of Houston’s Vinson & Elkins. “I know of no business relationship whatsoever between Alcolac International and Iraq. “They have not produced any admissible evidence that Alcolac International sold thiodyglycol to Iraq, that Iraq used any particular company’s thiodyglycol to make mustard gas, that any U.S. military personnel were even exposed to mustard gas made from any particular company’s thiodyglycol, or that mustard gas is linked medically to any of the plaintiffs’ physical complaints,” Welsh said. J. Palmer Hutcheson, a lawyer for Schott Glas, another defendant named in the suit, also predicts a tough road ahead for the plaintiffs. “We think the lawsuits are without merit and we expect to prevail,” said Hutcheson. Schott Glas, an equipment maker based in Germany, is accused of supplying Iraq with chemical-warfare-agent production equipment or related material. “Schott Glas is a manufacturer of glass and glass components, not of weapons,” Hutcheson said. Brian J. Hurst of Baker & McKenzie’s Dallas office, a lawyer for Klockner Industrie in Germany, also accused of providing equipment to Iraq, said the suit has jurisdictional flaws. “We absolutely deny the allegations, and we deny that the lawsuit having been brought in Texas has jurisdiction,” he said.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.