National Security

Court tosses $655M verdict for victims of Palestinian terror


A federal appeals court on Wednesday tossed out a lower court decision ordering the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to pay $655.5 million to families of American victims of terror attacks in Israel.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals did not address the merits of the case, but instead ruled that the lower court did not have jurisdiction over the matter because the Americans were not specifically targeted.

{mosads}The decision is a setback for the families, which have been in court for more than a decade, and could make it more difficult for families of victims in similar instances to sue the alleged perpetrators.

“[T]hese actions, as heinous as they were, were not sufficiently connected to the United States to provide specific personal jurisdiction in the United States,” Judge John Koeltl wrote on behalf of the court. “There is no basis to conclude that the defendants participated in these acts in the United States or that their liability for these acts resulted from their actions that did occur in the United States.”

“The terror machine gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimized these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific,” he added.

“But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims.”

The case was filed in 2004 against the PLO and Palestinian Authority by 11 American families that accused the groups of supporting the violence in the so-called second intifada, or uprising.

Last February, a federal jury sided with the families, awarding them $218.5 million in damages, which was tripled under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act to $655.5 million.

Tags Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinian National Authority

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