Press Release

Cooley Files Amicus Brief in Support of Terrorist Bombing Victims and Their Families

December 22, 2017

Washington, DC – December 22, 2017 – Cooley has filed an amicus brief in the DC Court of Appeals in support of hundreds of family members of the victims of the African embassy bombings of 1998 who are seeking just compensation for terror and anguish suffered as a result of the bombings and the loss or injury of their loved ones. Many of these family members are non-US nationals who face additional hurdles in seeking relief. 

In a litigation that has spanned almost two decades, the family members, plaintiffs in Owens v. The Republic of Sudan et al., have secured a judgment in US District Court for the District of Columbia in an amount exceeding $7 billion. The judgment is now on appeal and the amicus brief argues for its affirmance.

Filed on behalf of law professors Ellen Bublick and Paul Hayden, co-authors of the leading tort law treatise, The Law of Torts (2d ed. 2011), the amicus brief argues that under applicable legal principles and the “terrorism exception” to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, terrorists and nation states that provide material support to them should be liable for the severe emotional distress that their outrageous acts cause all immediate family members of the victims. Under the position advanced by the amicus brief, even family members who are not US nationals and are not present at the scene of the terrorist attack would be entitled to compensatory damages.

“It’s an honor to help professors Bublick and Hayden in this landmark case in urging the appellate court to provide a broad measure of compensation to all immediate family member of the victims of terrorism,” said Cooley special counsel George Anhang, who served as counsel of record for the amici. “We believe that common law principles and fundamental notions of justice require that courts recognize terrorism’s deep impacts on victim family members, and enable them to pursue fair compensation, regardless of their nationality or whether they were physically present at the attack.”  

Read the amicus brief 

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