Anti-terrorism Litigation

Anti-Terrorism Litigation Laws

Anti-Terrorism Laws

Hagens Berman’s anti-terrorism legal team fights on behalf of terrorism victims by suing terrorists and those that support them. Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations. It is often provided to terrorist organizations by foreign governments or corporations because of ideological or business reasons. Hagens Berman can help victims and their families investigate who is responsible for providing this money, file lawsuits against those responsible, and recover funds from assets held in the United States or abroad. In fact, terrorism victims that obtain court judgments against terrorists and their supporters may be able to recover funds directly from assets frozen by the United States government if the assets are linked to terrorism.

Additionally, in recent years, several international banks and corporations with assets in the United States have expressly admitted they funded terrorists. American law gives terrorism victims the power to fight back. Hagens Berman attorneys have both the legal experience and the connections to American and foreign intelligence sources to assist with this fight.

Lawsuits against terrorists and their supporters allow terrorism victims to obtain real justice. They also allow victims to play an important role in shaping American law and empower other families who may experience similar suffering and tragedy in the future.

Indeed, many of the most important laws that are now in use in the legal war on terrorism are the direct result of terrorism victims who refused to surrender or remain silent. Some of these laws include (1) the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 18 U.S. Code § 2333, (2) the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act terrorism exception (FSIA), 28 U.S. Code § 1605A, and (3) the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA), § 201(a), Pub. L. No. 107-297, 116 Stat. 2322, 2337, 28 U.S. Code § 1610 note.

The ATA was passed in 1992 because of the legal challenges the family of Leon Klinghoffer faced when they tried to sue the terrorists that were responsible for his murder in 1985 on the hijacked Italian Achille Lauro cruise ship. This law now allows American victims to directly sue terrorists and their supporters in federal court and to recover triple their damages, the costs of the lawsuit and attorneys’ fees.

The FSIA terrorism exception was passed in 1996 (it was later modified in 2008) because the of the legal challenges the father of Alisa Flatow faced when he tried to sue the government of Iran for sponsoring terrorists that bombed an Israeli bus his daughter was riding. This law in its current form allows Americans to sue foreign governments that have been officially linked to terrorism.

The TRIA was passed in 2002 because of the frustration families of terrorism victims experienced when they obtained court judgments against terrorists and their supporters but were unable to collect against their assets. This law now allows Americans with judgments against terrorist organizations to collect the frozen assets of these groups that are held by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers U.S. counter-terrorism sanctions.

Hagens Berman attorneys have experience with these laws and have assisted Americans who have been victims of terrorism sponsored by groups from many different regions, including South America, the Middle East, and Asia. If you or a loved one has been harmed by an act of terrorism, we welcome the opportunity to fight on your behalf. For your reference, we have included a few of the relevant legal provisions below from the ATA, FSIA and TRIA. Contact our firm confidentially.

18 U.S.C. §2333. Civil remedies

(a) Action and Jurisdiction.-Any national of the United States injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism, or his or her estate, survivors, or heirs, may sue therefor in any appropriate district court of the United States and shall recover threefold the damages he or she sustains and the cost of the suit, including attorney's fees.

(b) Estoppel Under United States Law.-A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the United States in any criminal proceeding under section 1116, 1201, 1203, or 2332 of this title or section 46314, 46502, 46505, or 46506 of title 49 shall estop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in any subsequent civil proceeding under this section.

(c) Estoppel Under Foreign Law.-A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of any foreign state in any criminal proceeding shall, to the extent that such judgment or decree may be accorded full faith and credit under the law of the United States, estop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in any subsequent civil proceeding under this section.

28 U.S.C. §1605A. Terrorism exception to the jurisdictional immunity of a foreign state

(a) In General.-

(1) No immunity.-A foreign state shall not be immune from the jurisdiction of courts of the United States or of the States in any case not otherwise covered by this chapter in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for personal injury or death that was caused by an act of torture, extrajudicial killing, aircraft sabotage, hostage taking, or the provision of material support or resources for such an act if such act or provision of material support or resources is engaged in by an official, employee, or agent of such foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency.

(2) Claim heard.-The court shall hear a claim under this section if-

(A)(i)(I) the foreign state was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism at the time the act described in paragraph (1) occurred, or was so designated as a result of such act, and, subject to subclause (II), either remains so designated when the claim is filed under this section or was so designated within the 6-month period before the claim is filed under this section; or

(II) in the case of an action that is refiled under this section by reason of section 1083(c)(2)(A) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 or is filed under this section by reason of section 1083(c)(3) of that Act, the foreign state was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism when the original action or the related action under section 1605(a)(7) (as in effect before the enactment of this section) or section 589 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (as contained in section 101(c) of division A of Public Law 104–208) was filed;

(ii) the claimant or the victim was, at the time the act described in paragraph (1) occurred-

(I) a national of the United States;

(II) a member of the armed forces; or

(III) otherwise an employee of the Government of the United States, or of an individual performing a contract awarded by the United States Government, acting within the scope of the employee's employment; and

 

(iii) in a case in which the act occurred in the foreign state against which the claim has been brought, the claimant has afforded the foreign state a reasonable opportunity to arbitrate the claim in accordance with the accepted international rules of arbitration; or

(B) the act described in paragraph (1) is related to Case Number 1:00CV03110 (EGS) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(b) Limitations.-An action may be brought or maintained under this section if the action is commenced, or a related action was commenced under section 1605(a)(7) (before the date of the enactment of this section) or section 589 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997 (as contained in section 101(c) of division A of Public Law 104–208) not later than the latter of-

(1) 10 years after April 24, 1996; or

(2) 10 years after the date on which the cause of action arose.

(c) Private Right of Action.-A foreign state that is or was a state sponsor of terrorism as described in subsection (a)(2)(A)(i), and any official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency, shall be liable to-

(1) a national of the United States,

(2) a member of the armed forces,

(3) an employee of the Government of the United States, or of an individual performing a contract awarded by the United States Government, acting within the scope of the employee's employment, or

(4) the legal representative of a person described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3),

for personal injury or death caused by acts described in subsection (a)(1) of that foreign state, or of an official, employee, or agent of that foreign state, for which the courts of the United States may maintain jurisdiction under this section for money damages. In any such action, damages may include economic damages, solatium, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. In any such action, a foreign state shall be vicariously liable for the acts of its officials, employees, or agents.

(d) Additional Damages.-After an action has been brought under subsection (c), actions may also be brought for reasonably foreseeable property loss, whether insured or uninsured, third party liability, and loss claims under life and property insurance policies, by reason of the same acts on which the action under subsection (c) is based.

(e) Special Masters.-

(1) In general.-The courts of the United States may appoint special masters to hear damage claims brought under this section.

(2) Transfer of funds.-The Attorney General shall transfer, from funds available for the program under section 1404C of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10603c), to the Administrator of the United States district court in which any case is pending which has been brought or maintained under this section such funds as may be required to cover the costs of special masters appointed under paragraph (1). Any amount paid in compensation to any such special master shall constitute an item of court costs.

 

(f) Appeal.-In an action brought under this section, appeals from orders not conclusively ending the litigation may only be taken pursuant to section 1292(b) of this title.

(g) Property Disposition.-

(1) In general.-In every action filed in a United States district court in which jurisdiction is alleged under this section, the filing of a notice of pending action pursuant to this section, to which is attached a copy of the complaint filed in the action, shall have the effect of establishing a lien of lis pendens upon any real property or tangible personal property that is-

(A) subject to attachment in aid of execution, or execution, under section 1610;

(B) located within that judicial district; and

(C) titled in the name of any defendant, or titled in the name of any entity controlled by any defendant if such notice contains a statement listing such controlled entity.

 

(2) Notice.-A notice of pending action pursuant to this section shall be filed by the clerk of the district court in the same manner as any pending action and shall be indexed by listing as defendants all named defendants and all entities listed as controlled by any defendant.

(3) Enforceability.-Liens established by reason of this subsection shall be enforceable as provided in chapter 111of this title.

 

(h) Definitions.-For purposes of this section-

(1) the term "aircraft sabotage" has the meaning given that term in Article 1 of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation;

(2) the term "hostage taking" has the meaning given that term in Article 1 of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages;

(3) the term "material support or resources" has the meaning given that term in section 2339A of title 18;

(4) the term "armed forces" has the meaning given that term in section 101 of title 10;

(5) the term "national of the United States" has the meaning given that term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22));

(6) the term "state sponsor of terrorism" means a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, for purposes of section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)),1 section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2371), section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2780), or any other provision of law, is a government that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism; and

(7) the terms "torture" and "extrajudicial killing" have the meaning given those terms in section 3 of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (28 U.S.C. 1350 note).

28 U.S.C. §1610 note. Exceptions to the immunity from attachment or execution

(a) In General.-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and except as provided in subsection (b), in every case in which a person has obtained a judgment against a terrorist party on a claim based upon an act of terrorism, or for which a terrorist party is not immune under section 1605A or 1605(a)(7) (as such section was in effect on January 27, 2008) of title 28, United States Code, the blocked assets of that terrorist party (including the blocked assets of any agency or instrumentality of that terrorist party) shall be subject to execution or attachment in aid of execution in order to satisfy such judgment to the extent of any compensatory damages for which such terrorist party has been adjudged liable.

(b) Presidential Waiver.-

(1) In general.-Subject to paragraph (2), upon determining on an asset-by-asset basis that a waiver is necessary in the national security interest, the President may waive the requirements of subsection (a) in connection with (and prior to the enforcement of) any judicial order directing attachment in aid of execution or execution against any property subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

(2) Exception.-A waiver under this subsection shall not apply to-

(A) property subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that has been used by the United States for any nondiplomatic purpose (including use as rental property), or the proceeds of such use; or

(B) the proceeds of any sale or transfer for value to a third party of any asset subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

(d) Definitions.-In this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Act of terrorism.-The term 'act of terrorism' means-

(A) any act or event certified under section 102(1) [Pub. L. 107–297, set out in a note under section 6701 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade]; or

(B) to the extent not covered by subparagraph (A), any terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(iii))).

(2) Blocked asset.-The term 'blocked asset' means-

(A) any asset seized or frozen by the United States under section 5(b) of the Trading With the Enemy Act (50 U.S.C. App. 5(b)) [now 50 U.S.C. 4305(b)] or under sections 202 and 203 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701; 1702); and

(B) does not include property that-

(i) is subject to a license issued by the United States Government for final payment, transfer, or disposition by or to a person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States in connection with a transaction for which the issuance of such license has been specifically required by statute other than the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) or the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (22 U.S.C. 287 et seq.); or

(ii) in the case of property subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, or that enjoys equivalent privileges and immunities under the law of the United States, is being used exclusively for diplomatic or consular purposes.

(3) Certain property.-The term 'property subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations' and the term 'asset subject to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations' mean any property or asset, respectively, the attachment in aid of execution or execution of which would result in a violation of an obligation of the United States under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as the case may be.

(4) Terrorist party.-The term 'terrorist party' means a terrorist, a terrorist organization (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi))), or a foreign state designated as a state sponsor of terrorism under section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)) [now 50 U.S.C. 4605(j)] or section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2371).