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Fraenkel v. Islamic Republic of Iran

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 28, 2017

ABRAHAM RON FRAENKEL, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION ON RECONSIDERATION

          ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge.

         Abraham and Rachelle Fraenkel lost their son, Naftali, when Hamas terrorists kidnapped and murdered him and two other young men. The Fraenkels and their remaining six children sued the Syrian Arab Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS), as supporters of Hamas, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq. (2012). The Court found in the Fraenkels' favor and awarded money damages, and the Fraenkels now seek reconsideration because the damages awards “are insufficient to provide them fair compensation, ” specifically because the amount awarded is less than the “gold standard” for FSIA awards as set in Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 466 F.Supp.2d 229 (D.D.C. 2006).

         The Court will deny the motion for reconsideration, but clarifies its damages awards.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court provided an in-depth description of the facts in its Memorandum Opinion on the motion for default judgment and will not repeat it here. See Fraenkel v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 15-1080, 2017 WL 1214353 (D.D.C. March 31, 2017). The Fraenkels sued Iran, Syria, and MOIS on July 9, 2015. See Compl. [Dkt. 1]. The Court held a two-day hearing on the Fraenkels' Motion for Default Judgment on December 6-7, 2016 and Plaintiffs submitted proposed findings of fact and law. See Proposed Findings [Dkt. 36]. On March 31, 2017, the Court issued its Memorandum Opinion and Order, finding in favor of the Fraenkels and awarding the following damages:

Pain and Suffering to the Estate of Naftali Fraenkel - $1, 000, 000
Solatium to U.S. Citizen Plaintiffs - $3, 100, 000
Solatium to Abraham Fraenkel - $1, 000, 000
Punitive Damages to the Estate of Naftali Fraenkel - $50, 000, 000

         Final Order [Dkt. 40].

         The Fraenkels moved to reopen the case and schedule a conference on the same day as the Court's Final Order, see Mot. for Conference [Dkt. 41], which the Court denied. 4/3/2017 Minute Order. The Fraenkels filed the instant motion on April 27, 2017 asking the Court to:

1. Amend and make new findings of fact under Rule 52(b);
2. Amend or alter the judgment under Rule 59(e);
3. Schedule a new trial under Rule 59; and/or
4. Reconsider the amount and allocation of damages awarded.

         Mot. to Amend [Dkt. 44]. Defendants filed no opposition. The ...


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