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Blackwater Sues Wiley Rein for $30M

Posted Jan 25, 2008 6:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Blackwater Security has filed a $30 million malpractice suit against Wiley Rein that claims the law firm botched pleadings to remove a wrongful death suit from state to federal court.

The malpractice suit claims federal courts would have been a better forum for Blackwater to defend the suit by four security guards who were killed in Iraq in 2004, Legal Times reports.

Fred Fielding, now White House counsel, was a member of a legal team led by Margaret Ryan that defended Blackwater in the suit, according to the complaint. Ryan, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, was named separately as a defendant.

The malpractice suit, filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C., superior court, claims Blackwater workers are de facto federal employees, but the law firm failed to cite a federal statute giving federal jurisdiction to cases involving federal officers. It also alleges the firm failed to cite a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave federal courts jurisdiction to hear state law claims implicating significant federal issues.

Wiley Rein partner Dale Hausman declined to comment to a Legal Times reporter, saying the firm had not yet heard of the allegations.

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