Oregon Public Broadcasting

The case of twelve soldiers who say they were exposed to cancer-causing chemicals in Iraq was back in federal court on Thursday.

The Oregon and Indiana National Guard soldiers are suing contractor KBR over work on a water treatment plant in Iraq. They say they have had serious health problems resulting from exposure to hexavalent chromium at the site in 2003. On Thursday, KBR asked U.S. District Judge Paul Papak to dismiss the case.

"Repeatedly KBR has tried to have the case thrown out of court, and they're doing it again, this time with five motions to dismiss or for summary judgment," said David Sugerman, an attorney for the soldiers.

KBR's attorneys say the soldiers should have sued within two years of knowing the chemicals made them sick. And KBR argues that the restriction on soldiers suing the military should prevent their action against KBR. That's because KBR was contracting with the military on the Iraq project in question.

The soldiers first sued in 2009. KBR has made some of the same arguments before and lost. Its attorneys say there's new evidence to consider now.

Judge Papak must rule on whether the issues are enough to prevent a trial, or whether a jury should consider them. The trial is scheduled to start in Portland in October.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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