Private security firm Blackwater USA is being sued by family members and a survivor of a shooting incident last month in Baghdad that left 17 people dead.
Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School, says the case will look at whether the contractors had good cause to fire their weapons.
Horton says the Iraqi families and survivors are suing Blackwater in U.S. court because contractors operating in Iraq have blanket immunity granted by the Coalition Provisional Authority. The immunity protects private security contractors from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
The Iraqis are asking for punitive damages, which could be a substantial amount, Horton says.
Horton talks to Alex Cohen about the lawsuit and legal precedents that could affect its outcome.