Terrorism Financing Litigation

Osen LLC is presently litigating ground-breaking actions against Arab Bank plc, Crédit Lyonnais S.A. and National Westminster Bank on behalf of victims of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel. These cases reflect the Firm’s commitment to provide meaningful redress for victims of terrorism by using civil litigation as a means of shutting down the financial pipeline to various terrorist organizations, their leaders and networks of charitable and social organizations. The lawsuits are predicated on the Anti-Terrorism Act (the “ATA”), which provides a cause of action for American citizens (and their family members or heirs) killed or injured by acts of international terrorism for violations of 18 USC § 2339A, 18 USC § 2339B and 18 USC § 2339C

 

The ATA was prompted by a 1991 federal civil suit against the Palestinian Liberation Organization for the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a U.S. citizen who was cast overboard during the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985. U.S. jurisdiction in that case was possible only because the terror attack took place at sea and therefore implicated admiralty jurisdiction and the Death on the High Seas Act (46 U.S.C. § 761). The congressional sponsors of the ATA wanted to expand federal jurisdiction to extend to American  victims of acts of international terrorism that were perpetrated abroad – beyond the rare cases that might involve terrorism on the high seas. The Senate report concerning Section 2333(a) emphasized that, by imposing “liability at any point along the causal chain of terrorism, it would interrupt, or at least imperil, the flow of money.” The Senate report also explained that the substance of actions under Section 2333(a) “is not defined by the statute, because the fact patterns giving rise to such suits will be as varied and numerous as those found in the law of torts….This section extends the same jurisdictional structure that undergirds the reach of American criminal law to the civil remedies that it defines.” By launching these landmark lawsuits against companies that have allegedly provided financial services to terrorist organizations, Osen LLC seeks to interrupt, or at least imperil, the flow of money  to terrorists and empower victims of terror and their families to fight back through the U.S. judicial system. 

 

The cases against Arab Bank and Crédit Lyonnais have survived motions for summary judgment and are proceeding to trial. In March 2013, the district court granted National Westminster Bank’s motion for summary judgment motion and that decision is currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

 

Reflecting the global nature of the Firm’s practice and its commitment to combating terrorism and terrorism financing regardless of ideology or geography, the Firm (together with co-counsel) obtained a $378 million dollar judgment against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 2009 on behalf of the families of two Puerto Rican men who were victims of a May 1972 terrorist attack at Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion Airport) in Israel and is pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of the families of five slain American missionaries against Chiquita Brands International, Inc. alleging that Chiquita knowingly paid funds and provided other services and support to the Colombian terrorist organization, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”).