The federal lawsuit, which lawyers said would be filed on Tuesday, alleges that Caterpillar violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to the Israeli Defence Forces that it knew would be used to demolish homes and endanger people.
Rachel Corrie, a student at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, was standing in front of a home in a refugee camp in occupied Gaza’s Rafah city on 16 March 2003 when a bulldozer crushed her to death.
“The brutal death of my daughter should never have happened,” Corrie’s mother, Cindy Corrie, said in a statement released by the Centre for Constitutional Rights, a law firm handling the case.
“We believe Caterpillar and the Israeli Defence Forces must be held accountable for their role in the attack.”
Caterpillar spokeswoman Linda Fairbanks said the company had no comment on the lawsuit.
“We believe Caterpillar and the Israeli Defence Forces must be held accountable for their role in the attack”
But the company released a general, written statement that said: “Caterpillar shares the world’s concern over unrest in the Middle East and we certainly have compassion for all those affected by political strife.
“However, more than 2 million Caterpillar machines and engines are at work in virtually every region of the world each day.
“We have neither the legal right nor the means to police individual use of that equipment.”
The Corries have filed separate suits in Israel against the state of Israel, the Israeli Defence Ministry and the Israeli Defence Forces, seeking $324,000 as damages.
Israeli forces have demolished hundreds of homes in Rafah during the past four years of violence in operations against resistance fighters and in attempts to uncover weapons-smuggling tunnels dug under the Gaza-Egypt border.
The Israeli army said Corrie died after being hit by a concrete slab that slid down a mound of earth and that the bulldozer driver never saw her.
No charges were brought against the driver.
Corrie’s family has said she was killed despite having worn bright clothing and having identified herself as a foreign activist.