Whatever the merits of the increasing reliance upon private military contractors (PMCs) for tasks that have historically been the province of the U.S. military, one of the major issues such reliance has raised is the accountability mechanisms for those contractors, especially through civil and criminal litigation. I’ve written at length in the past about the criminal side of the coin, but the civil side is perhaps more important—as it implicates a far larger number of cases and doctrines. Indeed, at tomorrow afternoon’s weekly Conference, the Supreme Court is set to consider a pair of cert. petitions brought by PMCs, both of which seek review of circuit-level decisions that, if left intact, could potentially subject them to civil liability based upon allegedly tortious conduct by their employees in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The Battle Space and Contingency Procurements Committee of the ABA’s Section on Public Contract Law is also sponsoring a lunchtime panel on these cases—and their broader implications—tomorrow @ noon, hosted by Steptoe & Johnson.
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