Sadly, terrorism and terrorist attacks are an unfortunate part of the modern world. United States courts are now hearing an influx of cases involving victims of terrorist attacks seeking monetary compensation for the horror inflicted upon them.
The United States Anti-Terrorism Act is a more than two-decade-old law that permits victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation in U.S. civil courts for their injuries. In February of 2015, a United States jury in New York City found that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority supported a series of terrorist attacks in the early 2000s in Israel that killed or injured Americans.[i] The claim arose out of a series of shootings and bombings in Jerusalem from 2002-2004 that killed or maimed more than 450 individuals. The claim rested upon the theory that the defendants provided support to the militants who planned and executed the attacks. The damages exceeded 200 million dollars.[ii] The plaintiffs viewed the verdict as a major victory, representing “accountability and justice.”[iii]
This verdict represent a new manner in which courts can address and combat terrorism. Not only are the verdicts highly symbolic and restorative, commentators have explained that these cases are “breaking new ground in terms of sharing responsibility for…acts of terrorism.”[iv] Additionally, some of these lawsuits are challenging established banking institutions and other “structural facilitators of terrorism.”[v] Thus, in addition to criminal prosecutions, civil cases also maintain a role to play in the ongoing fight against terrorism.
These cases are not about Middle Eastern politics, but about seeking justice for the death and severe injury to innocent Americans while traveling abroad. If you or a loved one have experienced such a tragedy, please do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced attorneys at Swartz & Lynch LLP. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
[i] The Associated Press, “US Jury Finds Palestinian Groups Liable for Terror Attacks,” The New York Times, February 23, 2015.
[iv] Larry Neumeister, “Dramatic PLO Trial Gives Terror Victims Stage for Redress,” The New York Times, January 19th, 2015.