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Some Plaintiffs in Blackwater Nisour Square Civil Suit Settle

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on January 11, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One more step has been taken in the seemingly never ending march of cases involving agents of the company formerly known as Blackwater, now re- christened Xe. Seven of the civil suits against Blackwater guards, stemming from the shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square in 2007, have been settled before trial. The news of the settlements is bookended by the dismissal of the criminal case against the guards and the arrest of two more former Blackwater employees for murder, based on shootings in Kabul, Afghanistan last May.  

The dismissal of the criminal case against the Nisour square shooters by a U.S. District Court judge last week, is said to have angered the Iraqi government. That case may continue when the Department of Justice makes a decision regarding an appeal or a re-filing of the indictment without the evidence the judge found unconstitutionally tainted the case against the defendants. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is also reportedly considering filing its own civil suit in the American courts, according to the New York Times. The Times opines that the new criminal charges against Blackwater guards sends a signal that the DOJ is not through with the company, despite its unexpected setback in its criminal case. Agreed. Smart money may well be on the DOJ refiling the Nisour Square case.

The settlement of the civil suits did not please every plaintiff. One of the wounded, Sami Hawas Hamoud Abu Iz, told the Associated Press that the company had offered $100,000 to each family of a person who died and $30,000 to those wounded. He said plaintiffs' lawyers told victims they might not receive anything if they did not agree to a settlement. As in any civil suit, a plaintiff must weigh the cost and risk of continuing to trial and the sense of vindication that can accompany a win in court, with the absolute assurance of money received in a settlement. 

An additional group of 10 plaintiffs has not yet settled.

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