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No coverage for contractor torture claim

In the ongoing talk about torture, recent revelations suggest that private contractors may have stepped in to employ harsh tactics, or at least to suggest their use.

Military contractors did not have business insurance coverage for claims by Iraqi nationals that they were abused and tortured by employees of the contractor, CACI International, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled May 14 in CACI Int’l Inc. v.
St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co
.
 
 

CACI argued for coverage under their CGL policies for employee activities under a “short time” exception to the general bar on coverage outside the home territory. The 4th Circuit panel majority said it’s clear the limited exception was for brief, discrete events, like a three-day business conference, not the kind of “long-term approach” using “repeated torture and humiliation,” alleged in the complaints.  

But a dissenting judge said the complaint’s factual allegations did not foreclose the chance of coverage under the “short time” exception for CACI employees “who traveled to Iraq for a short time and caused covered injuries to plaintiffs.”

By Deborah Elkins

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