Iraqi TranslatorsPractice Area: Human Rights
Cohen Milstein represented the families of 9 Iraqi translators who, after their sons were brutally murdered, were the victims of deplorable conduct by a U.S. insurance company. The men assisted the United States military during the Iraq war. The job was an extraordinarily dangerous one: Iraqi interpreters working for the United States were at the top of militia hit lists. Tragically, the men were ambushed by insurgents who shot the translators execution style and dumped their bodies around Basra as a warning against working with the Americans.
The United States has an insurance scheme (the Defense Base Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1651 et seq) designed to compensate families in situations like this. Unfortunately, agents of the insurer, Continental Casualty Insurer (CNA), filed claims with the Department of Labor wrongly asserting that the translators had no dependents, even though CNA’s own internal investigation confirmed that each translator had supported his elderly parents and that the parents were entitled to death benefits. Indeed, CNA’s investigator had met with the families, collected evidence of dependency, promised to work on their behalf, and assured the survivors that compensation would be forthcoming. But as a result of CNA’s representations, the parents of the murdered translators did not receive the death benefits provided by US law to which they were entitled.
Cohen Milstein was able to re-open their claims and obtain full benefits for the parents. The defendants fought the case until the day before trial, when Cohen Milstein’s clients prevailed on their cross-motion for summary judgment.