PORTLAND -- A federal judge on Friday affirmed $81 million in damages awarded to 12 Oregon National Guard soldiers who had sued defense contractor KBR, the Oregonian first reported.

The soldiers said KBR exposed them to a carcinogen at a compound in Iraq, following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The attorney representing the soldiers said he expects KBR to appeal.

Our job for the veterans and the veteran s families is just to go forward to the next round, said David Sugerman, attorney for Oregon National Guard Soldiers. The nice thing about representing veterans is they certainly understand we go on to the next fight. Today was a win for them.

The soldiers were awarded $75 million in punitive damages and $6 million in compensatory damages.

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