Hudak's Weapons Lawsuit Can Go Forward

A civil lawsuit against Halliburton Energy Services and others brought by a former contractor at a counterterrorism training school in Roswell can go forward, a judge says.

U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo denied motions by Halliburton and Jet Research to dismiss or to transfer jurisdiction in the civil racketeering and fraud lawsuit filed by David Hudak and International HydroCut Technologies.   

Hudak, a Canadian citizen, was charged with knowingly possessing unregistered destructive devices— mini-missiles— and illegally training foreign troops in Roswell in 2002. After nearly 17 months in custody, he was acquitted by an Albuquerque jury in November 2003. If convicted, he would have faced 50 years in prison.   

Hudak filed suit against Halliburton, Jet Research and Accurate Arms in 2004 alleging civil RICO claims, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.   

According to the suit, Hudak contends that the same warheads at issue in his criminal prosecution were advertised, sold and exported by Halliburton and others in a series of transactions in 1993 and 1994.   

Hudak also contends that in negotiating the sale of the warheads and obtaining the necessary approvals to ship them to Hudak's business in Canada, the defendants falsely represented the devices as demilitarized "demolition charges" that could be legally purchased by private parties.   

Hudak and HydroCut claim they didn't know the correct classification of the warheads and relied on incorrect information from the arms sellers, which he says "continued to provide false information about the devices during Mr. Hudak's criminal prosecution." 

Armijo's 95-page opinion, filed Friday, says discovery in the case can proceed but cautions that denying the dismissal "does not mean plaintiffs have proven the truth of the allegations.   

"Rather, the court's rulings at this preliminary juncture only mean that plaintiff's complaint states viable civil RICO claims against each defendant which are properly heard in the district of New Mexico," Armijo wrote.   

Hudak attorney Robert Gorence said his client was "ecstatic" at the prospect of having his day in court.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

By Scott Sandlin
Copyright © 2006 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer