Monday, April 2, 2018

Cancer cluster issue....

You may recall last year several of the attorneys for men being charged at the military commission raised an issue regarding the safety of the area where they were being housed and where they worked- because of an alarming cancer cluster amongst personnel assigned to those areas. When the military refused to take any action the attorneys filed a federal lawsuit.... now the judge in that case has denied a preliminary injunction:
This from the National Law Journal:

The lawyers say the area they are required to live and work in at Guantanamo Bay could be contaminated and unsafe.

By Cogan Schneier | March 30, 2018 at 01:37 PM
A federal judge on Friday refused to force the Defense Department to provide defense attorneys alternative housing at Guantanamo Bay amid fears their current quarters are unsafe.
The four plaintiffs, U.S. Judge Advocate General’s Corps and civilian lawyers who represent detainees before the military commission at Guantanamo, sued the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy and the director of the Office of Military Commissions and Convening Authority last year, alleging they failed to properly investigate environmental hazards at Camp Justice.
The lawyers, who are assigned to work and sometimes live there, asked U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer of the District of Columbia for a preliminary injunction requiring the DOD to further investigate the alleged hazards and offer alternative living and working accommodations.
In denying the preliminary injunction, Collyer wrote that the plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success on their arguments because it appeared the department had “examined the relevant data and articulated ‘a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made.’”
Collyer added that the plaintiffs failed to show they would suffer an irreparable injury without the injunction.
“While the alleged harm—risk of cancer—is no doubt ‘great,’ the record does not show that it is currently ‘certain,’ ‘actual,’ or ‘imminent,’” Collyer wrote.
The judge also dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims that the DOD unreasonably delayed the completion of a risk assessment and implementation of controls to address the hazards, as well as their request for a writ of mandamus requiring the department to finish both tasks, for mootness. She said the department fully completed its report, which is now public, as well as completed the appropriate implementations.
“Plaintiffs’ argument does not overcome the fact that the actions sought in their complaint have been undertaken and, to the extent demanded, completed,” the judge wrote.
However, the judge denied the government’s motion to dismiss with respect to the plaintiffs’ allegation that the DOD violated the Administrative Procedures Act by arbitrarily and capriciously deciding Camp Justice is safe.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, which include Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll’s Dan Small and Johanna Hickman and Venable‘s Michael Davis and Margaret Fawal, were not available to comment Friday. The DOD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Navy assigns housing for military and civilian lawyers, as well as support staff, when they’re working at Camp Justice. The camp is located on an old airfield last used in the 1970s.
In July 2015, a lawyer who worked at Camp Justice asked the DOD’s inspector general to investigate whether conditions there may be linked to seven different cancer diagnoses of former employees. Later that year, the Miami Herald reported nine individuals who had worked there were diagnosed with cancer afterward.