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Khaliq v. Republic of Sudan

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

March 28, 2014

RIZWAN KHALIQ, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
REPUBLIC OF SUDAN, et al., Defendants

Page 30

For RIZWAN KHALIQ, JENNY CHRISTIANA LOVBLOM, IMRAN KHALIQ, TEHSIN KHALIQ, KAMRAN KHALIQ, IMTIAZ BEDUM, IRFAN KHALIQ, YASIR AZIZ, NAURIN KHALIQ, Plaintiffs: Jane Carol Norman, BOND & NORMAN, PLLC, Washington, DC.

Page 31

MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

JOHN D. BATES, United States District Judge.

Over fifteen years ago, on August 7, 1998, the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were devastated by simultaneous suicide bombings that killed hundreds of people and injured over a thousand. This Court has entered final judgment on liability under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (" FSIA" ) in this civil action and several related cases--brought by victims of the bombings and their families--against the Republic of Sudan, the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Sudan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (collectively " defendants" ) for their roles in supporting, funding, and otherwise carrying out these unconscionable acts.[2] The next step in the case is to assess and award damages to each individual plaintiff, and in this task the Court has been aided by a special master.

Plaintiffs are two U.S. citizens injured in the Nairobi bombing, as well as seven immediate family members of the victims, all of whom are also U.S. citizens. Service of process was completed upon each defendant, but defendants failed to respond, and a default was entered against each defendant. This Court then held that it has jurisdiction over the defendants and that the U.S. nationals have a federal cause of action under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(c). See Owens v. Republic of Sudan, 826 F.Supp.2d 128, 148-51 (D.D.C. 2011). A final judgment on liability was then entered in favor of plaintiffs. Nov. 30, 2011 Order [ECF No. 25]. The deposition testimony and other evidence presented established that the defendants were responsible for supporting, funding, and otherwise carrying out the bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. See Owens, 826 F.Supp.2d at 135-47.

The Court then referred plaintiffs' claims to a special master, Paul G. Griffin, to prepare proposed findings and recommendations for a determination of damages. Feb. 27, 2012 Order Appointing Special Masters [ECF No. 28] 2. The special master has now filed a completed report, and plaintiffs have filed proposed

Page 32

findings of fact and conclusions of law based on those reports. See Report of Special Master Paul Griffin [ECF No. 34]; Proposed Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law [ECF No. 36]. In completing those reports and in finding the facts, the special master relied on sworn testimony, expert reports, medical records, and other evidence. The reports extensively describe the key facts relevant to each of the plaintiffs and carefully analyze their claims under the framework established in mass tort terrorism cases. The Court commends Paul Griffin for his excellent work and thoughtful analysis.

The Court hereby adopts all facts found by the special master relating to all plaintiffs in this case. Where the special master has received evidence sufficient to find that a plaintiff is a U.S. national and is thus entitled to maintain a federal cause of action, the Court adopts that finding. The Court also adopts all damages recommendations in the reports, with the few adjustments described below. " Where recommendations deviate from the Court's damages framework, 'those amounts shall be altered so as to conform with the respective award amounts set forth' in the framework, unless otherwise noted." Valore v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 700 F.Supp.2d 52, 82-83 (D.D.C. 2010) (quoting Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 515 F.Supp.2d 25, 53 (D.D.C. 2007) (" Peterson II" ), abrogation on other grounds recognized in Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 947 F.Supp.2d 48, 65 (D.D.C. 2013)). As a result, the Court will award plaintiffs a total judgment of over $49 million.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

I. Plaintiffs Are Entitled To Damages On Their Federal Law Claims Under 28 U.S.C. § 1605A

" To obtain damages in a Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) action, the plaintiff must prove that the consequences of the defendants' conduct were reasonably certain (i.e., more likely than not) to occur, and must prove the amount of the damages by a reasonable estimate consistent with application of the American rule on damages." Valore, 700 F.Supp.2d at 83. Plaintiffs here have proven that the consequences of the defendants' conduct were reasonably certain to--and indeed intended to--cause injury to plaintiffs. See Owens, 826 F.Supp.2d at 135-46. As discussed in this Court's previous opinion, because the FSIA-created cause of action " does not spell out the elements of these claims that the Court should apply," the Court " is forced . . . to apply general principles of tort law" to determine plaintiffs' entitlement to damages on their federal claims. Id. at 157 n.3.

Survivors here are entitled to recover for the pain and suffering caused by the bombings: acts of terrorism " by their very definition" amount to extreme and outrageous conduct and are thus compensable by analogy under the tort of " intentional infliction of emotional distress." Valore, 700 F.Supp.2d at 77 (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 46(1) (1965)); see Baker v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahirya, 775 F.Supp.2d 48, 74 (D.D.C. 2011) (permitting plaintiffs injured in state-sponsored terrorist bombings to recover for personal injuries, including pain and suffering, under tort of " intentional infliction of emotional distress" ); Estate of Bland v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 831 F.Supp.2d 150, 153 (D.D.C. 2011) (same). Hence, " those who survived the attack may recover damages for their pain and suffering, . . . ...


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