Judge: No Iraqi law in Pa. soldier's shower death

By JOE MANDAK | October 3, 2011 | 3:30 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A federal judge in Pittsburgh says United States law, not Iraqi statutes, should govern a lawsuit filed by the mother of a soldier electrocuted while showering at an Army base in Iraq.

Attorneys for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. had asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to apply Iraqi law to the lawsuit stemming from the January 2008 death of Pittsburgh-area Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth.

But Fischer agreed with attorneys for the soldier's mother who argued that U.S. law should hold sway because the base was under American control. It also provides for punitive damages not recognized by Iraqi law.

An attorney for KBR says the contractor had no immediate comment on the decision handed down last month.

The attorney for the soldier's mother says he's pleased with the ruling.