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BOISE -- The federal government is asking a judge to throw out a $1.6 million lawsuit brought by the state of Idaho over damages to a building at the University of Idaho.

Idaho's attorneys filed the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court last year, contending that members of the Navy ROTC program caused serious damage to a World War II-era building when ROTC students held a barbecue and then failed to fully extinguish the briquettes afterward, causing a fire.

In a motion filed Wednesday, the federal government says the lawsuit should be tossed out because the ROTC students weren't acting in the line of duty -- or within the scope of their government employment -- when they dumped out the briquettes. The federal government says the barbecue was strictly a social event.

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