Appeals Court Orders Stay On Blackwater Arbitration

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is ordering a stay on arbitration between Blackwater USA and the families of four security contractors killed and mutilated in Iraq.

The families of Scott Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague had sued Blackwater. They accused the company of failing to provide the security guards with the appropriate

Blackwater filed a counterclaim for $10 million, arguing breach of the security guards' contracts with the company.

Attorneys for the families say in a written statement that the Fourth Circuit is still expected to hear an appeal by the families on a ruling by a U.S. District judge that sent the matter to arbitration. The statement says the stay allows the appeals court to first rule on whether the case should go to arbitration at all.

A Blackwater spokeswoman declined to comment on the order.