U.S. District Court Rules Iran Must Pay Crowell & Moring Clients $126 Million For 1983 Terrorist Bombing
Washington, D.C. – December 15, 2005: Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that the Islamic Republic of Iran supported Hezbollah terrorists in their April 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon and must pay 29 victims and their families $126 million. Crowell & Moring LLP has represented the victims and their estates since filing the case in 2001.
In a 94-page opinion, Judge Bates cited evidence showing Iran provided Hezbollah with arms, financial aid, and other support. Bates wrote, “This case has been in the vanguard of mass-tort lawsuits brought by victims of terrorism against foreign states…”
The attack, which killed 63 people, including 17 U.S. citizens, was the first mass casualty suicide bombing ever perpetrated against a U.S. Embassy. Crowell & Moring represents 83 victims or their families. These plaintiffs were divided into two groups by Bates in order to speed the proceedings. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola will now rule on the remaining claims building upon Judge Bates' ruling.
Crowell & Moring partner and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Martinez said, “We are pleased that the Court has again recognized Iran to be at the center of this heinous act of terrorism and that Iran will be called to account for its actions. We are hopeful that we will be able to enforce the judgment soon.”
Lead plaintiff Anne Dammarell, a former employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development, who was stationed at the Embassy and critically injured at the time of the attack, said, “This lawsuit is our way of fighting back. It is the only way we have to make Iran accountable for the incredible pain it inflicted through its support of Hezbollah. We are grateful that justice has been served.”
The lawsuit was made possible by 1996 amendments to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which permit lawsuits against foreign states that either commit terrorist acts or provide material support to the perpetrators of terrorist acts that result in the personal injury or death of an American citizen. The case is similar to earlier actions brought against Iran, including cases brought on behalf of former hostages, such as Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson, also a Crowell & Moring client.
The case is Dammarell v. Iran, 01-2224, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Other Crowell & Moring attorneys involved in this matter include partner and founder of the firm's Victims of Terrorism practice Stuart H. Newberger and counsel Monica G. Parham.
Crowell & Moring LLP is a full-service law firm with more than 300 attorneys practicing in litigation, antitrust, government contracts, corporate, intellectual property and more than 40 other practice areas. More than two-thirds of the firm's attorneys regularly litigate disputes on behalf of domestic and international corporations, start-up businesses, and individuals. Crowell & Moring's extensive client work ranges from advising on one of the world's largest telecommunications mergers to representing governments and corporations on international arbitration matters. Based in Washington, D.C., the firm also has offices in Brussels, California and London.
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