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Akins v. Islamic Republic of Iran

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 10, 2018

TODD AKINS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BERYL A. HOWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         Over twenty years ago, on June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which housed military personnel from the United States and other allied forces, was bombed, causing extensive damage to the buildings, killing dozens of people, including nineteen American service members, and injuring many more. Compl. at 3 & ¶ 28, ECF No. 1. Among the injured are fifteen of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, who, as members of the armed forces “survived the blast.” Id. at 3. The plaintiffs also include twenty-three of the survivors' “immediate family members, ” and one family member of another service member, who was injured in the attack but is not a plaintiff. Id.[1] The plaintiffs allege that the defendants Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”) “caused and facilitated the terrorist attack at the Khobar Towers, ” id. ¶ 31, and seek damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's (“FSIA”) terrorism exception, 28 U.S.C. § 1605A. Despite multiple efforts to effectuate service, the defendants have not entered appearances nor defended against this action. The plaintiffs now seek entry of default judgment against both defendants. Pls.' Mot. for Default J. as to Liability (“Pls.' Liability Mot.”), ECF No. 22; Pls.' Mot. for Default J. as to Damages (“Pls.' Damages Mot.”), ECF No. 25. For the reasons detailed below, the plaintiffs' motions are granted in part and denied in part.[2]

         I. BACKGROUND

         “[T]he history of litigation” in this Court “stemming from the bombing of Khobar Towers . . . is extensive.” Rimkus v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 750 F.Supp.2d 163, 167 (D.D.C. 2010) (Lamberth, J.) (citing Blais v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 459 F.Supp.2d 40, 46-51 (D.D.C. 2006) (Lamberth, J.) and Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 466 F.Supp.2d 229, 248 (D.D.C. 2006) (“Heiser I”) (Lamberth, J.)). The plaintiffs correctly point out that in “two of those prior decisions, the Court heard extensive evidence, including expert testimony, and held that the same two Defendants” named in the instant suit “were liable, jointly and severally, for the same June 25, 1996, terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers at issue here.” Pls.' Mem. Supp. Pls.' Liability Mot. (“Pls.' Liability Mem.”) at 8, ECF No. 22-1. In view of this prior litigation, the plaintiffs request that this Court “take judicial notice of prior findings of fact and supporting evidence imposing liability under Section 1605A (and its predecessor, Section 1605(a)(7)) on Iran and IRGC for providing material support and resources to the terrorists who attacked the Khobar Towers complex on June 25, 1996.” Pls.' Liability Mem. at 10.

         Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence authorizes a court to take judicial notice, on its own or at the request of a party, of adjudicative facts that are “not subject to reasonable dispute because” they “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(a)-(c). “ʻ[A]djudicative facts are simply the facts of the particular case' while ‘legislative facts . . . are those which have relevance to legal reasoning and the lawmaking process, whether in the formulation of a legal principle or ruling by a judge or court or in the enactment of a legislative body.'” NOW, Wash., D.C. Chapter v. Soc. Sec. Admin. of Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 736 F.2d 727, 737 n.95 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (Robinson, J., concurring) (quoting Advisory Committee Note to Fed.R.Evid. 201(a)). Rule 201 has been applied frequently in this jurisdiction for courts to take notice of, and rely on, facts found in earlier proceedings, “without necessitating the formality of having that evidence reproduced, ” Harrison v. Republic of Sudan, 882 F.Supp.2d 23, 31 (D.D.C. 2012) (quoting Taylor v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 811 F.Supp.2d 1, 7 (D.D.C. 2011)), “even when those proceedings have taken place in front of a different judge, ” Foley v. Syrian Arab Republic, 249 F.Supp.3d 186, 191 (D.D.C. 2017) (citing Brewer v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 664 F.Supp.2d 43, 54 (D.D.C. 2009) (“Relying on the pleadings and the . . . findings of other judges in this jurisdiction.”)). In this way, rather than require litigants to present such evidence anew in each lawsuit stemming from the same terrorist attack, courts have “determined that the proper approach is one ‘that permits courts in subsequent related cases to rely upon the evidence presented in earlier litigation . . . without necessitating the formality of having that evidence reproduced, '” so that “courts may reach their own independent findings of fact” predicated “on judicial notice of the evidence presented in the earlier cases.” Anderson v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, 753 F.Supp.2d 68, 75 (D.D.C. 2010) (Lamberth, J.) (quoting Rimkus, 750 F.Supp.2d at 172); see also Foley, 249 F.Supp.3d at 191 (Kollar-Kotelly, J.) (finding same “approach appropriate” and “tak[ing] judicial notice of the requested findings”); Oveissi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 879 F.Supp.2d 44, 50 (D.D.C. 2012) (Lamberth, J.) (finding courts permitted “in subsequent related cases to rely upon the evidence presented in earlier litigation” (quoting Rimkus, 750 F.Supp.2d at 163)); Estate of Botvin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 873 F.Supp.2d 232, 237 (D.D.C. 2012) (Lamberth, J.) (taking “judicial notice of the evidence presented in the earlier cases”).

         Thus, the factual evidence developed in other cases involving the same conduct by the same defendants is admissible and may be relied upon in this case. At the same time, the judicial findings derived from those facts are not dispositive here since courts must “reach their own, independent findings of fact in the cases before them.” Rimkus, 750 F.Supp.2d at 172. Persuaded that this common-sense approach is both efficient and sufficiently protective of the absent defendants' interests, this Court will adopt it and grant the plaintiffs' request to take judicial notice of the evidence presented in Heiser I and Blais, as well as supplemental evidence provided by the plaintiffs. The evidence regarding the terrorist attack at issue is summarized first, followed by an overview of the procedural history of this case.

         A. THE KHOBAR TOWERS ATTACK

         “The Khobar Towers was a residential complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which housed the coalition forces charged with monitoring compliance with U.N. security council resolutions.” Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 47. On June 25, 1996, a 5, 000-pound truck bomb was detonated outside the Khobar Towers complex, and the resulting blast “sheared off the entire face of the Khobar Towers complex and shattered windows up to a half mile away.” Compl. at 3. “The explosion killed dozens of persons including nineteen American servicemen, ” and “[h]undreds of others were injured and burned.” Id. ¶ 28. “The investigation determined that the force of the explosion was the equivalent of 20, 000 pounds of TNT, ” which was, according to the Department of Defense, “the largest non-nuclear explosion ever up to that time.” Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 47-48.

         B. IRAN AND IRGC'S ROLE

         “Iran is a foreign state and has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism pursuant to section 69(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C.A. § 2405(j)) continuously since January 19, 1984.” Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 47 (internal quotation marks omitted); accord Compl. ¶ 20. The “IRGC has been described by expert testimony as ‘a nontraditional instrumentality of Iran' that acts as ‘the military arm of a kind of shadow government answering directly to the Ayatollah and the mullahs who hold power in Iran.'” Rimkus, 750 F.Supp.2d at 173 (quoting Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 47). “[W]ith its own separate ministry, [it] has evolved into one of the most powerful organizations within Iran, ” and “functions as an intelligence organization.” Compl. ¶ 22.

         The Khobar Towers bombing “was carried out by individuals recruited principally by a senior official of the IRGC, Brigadier General Ahmed Sharifi. Sharifi, who was the operational commander, planned the operation and recruited individuals for the operation at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria.” Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 48. The truck bomb itself “was assembled at a terrorist base in the Bekaa Valley which was jointly operated by the IRGC and by the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah, ” and the attack “was approved by Ayatollah Khameini, the Supreme leader of Iran at the time.” Id.

         Under the “day to day oversight” of Dale Watson, then the deputy counterterrorism chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), the FBI, led by then-director Louis Freeh, “conducted a massive and thorough investigation of the attack, using over 250 agents.” Id. That investigation led to a June 21, 2001, indictment against “13 identified members of the pro-Iran Saudi Hezb[o]llah organization, ” which indictment “frequently refers to direction and assistance from Iranian government officials” in the plot to bomb the Khobar Towers. Heiser I, 466 F.Supp.2d at 252. The FBI also interviewed “six admitted members of the Saudi Hezbollah organization, who were arrested by the Saudis shortly after the bombing” and “admitted to the FBI their complicity in the attack . . . and admitted that senior officials in the Iranian government provided them with funding, planning, training, sponsorship, and travel necessary to carry out the attack on the Khobar Towers.” Id. at 253. Those Saudi Hezbollah members provided information about “how each was recruited and trained by the Iranian government, ” and stated that Iran and the IRGC had “collectively” selected the target for the attack, and that “the actual preparation and carrying out of the attack was done by the IRGC.” Id. One “told the FBI that IRGC gave the six individuals a large amount of money for the specific purpose of planning and executing the Khobar Towers bombing.” Id. Importantly, “there was a great deal of cross-corroboration among the individuals' stories, even when each was interviewed by the FBI separately, ” and “in many instances the FBI was able to corroborate independently the statements made by the six individuals.” Id. at 261-62. On the basis of the FBI's investigation, former Director Freeh “has publicly and unequivocally stated his firm conclusion . . . that Iran was responsible for planning and supporting the Khobar Towers attack, ” and Watson concurred “that there was Iran [] and IRGC involvement in the bombing.” Id. at 253.

         Dr. Patrick Clawson has provided expert testimony, “based on his involvement on a Commission investigating the bombing, his top-secret security clearance, his discussions with Saudi officials, as well as his academic research on the subject, ” that the Saudi Hezbollah organization was formed by Iran, and received military training from the IRGC. Id. Clawson concluded “that the government of Iran, [its Ministry of Information and Security], and IRGC were responsible for the Khobar Towers bombing, and that Saudi Hezbollah carried out the attack under their direction.” Id.; see also Id. at 260-64 (describing and finding credible expert testimony regarding Iran and IRGC's involvement in the Khobar Towers attack). Clawson's conclusion about Iran's direct involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing is shared by Dr. Bruce Tefft, “one of the founding members of the CIA's counterterrorism bureau, ” who has testified that, based “on publicly available sources that were not inconsistent with classified information known to him from his time at the CIA and from his security clearances since that time, ” the Khobar Towers bombing “wouldn't have happened without Iranian support.” Blais, 459 F.Supp.2d at 48-49.

         C. THE INSTANT PLAINTIFFS

         The plaintiffs in this action are U.S. nationals and include: (1) fifteen U.S. Armed Forces members, who were present at the Khobar Towers at the time of the bombing and “suffered physical and psychological injuries, ” Compl. ¶ 38; (2) twenty-three of their immediate family members; and (3) one family member of a service member survivor of the bombing who is not himself a plaintiff in this case. Each plaintiff and, where applicable, their family members, is described below.[3]

         1. Todd Akins

         At the time of the attack, plaintiff Todd Akins, an F-15 avionics specialist serving a tour at Dhahran Air Force Base in Saudi Arabia, lived in the Khobar Towers complex. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Todd Akins (“Akins Decl.”) (June 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 1.[4] While preparing for his night shift, he was “thrown across the room and against the concrete wall about 15 or 20 feet away from where [he] had been sitting.” Id. ¶ 4. Though Akins was “dazed and confused, ” he helped his roommate out of their apartment and down the stairs to a “triage area.” Id. There, Akins “had some pieces of glass removed from parts of [his] body, ” including his chin, head, back, knee, and calf, “and got some initial stitches.” Id. Akins also suffered injuries to his “back and knee from when [he] was thrown against the wall, ” and believes he sustained a concussion as well. Id. ¶ 5. These injuries “still cause [him] a lot of pain on a day-to-day basis, ” and his “activities are limited, ” but “[t]he psychological impact may have been greater.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Akins “suffered severe emotional distress . . . as a result of the terrorist attack, ” and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) and “rated as 70 percent disabled” by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”). Id. ¶¶ 6, 8; see id, Ex. B, VA, Baltimore Regional Office, Letter to Todd Akins, ECF No. 25-2 at 7-8.

         2. George C. Anthony

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff George C. Anthony, was “serving with the 58th Fighter Squadron” and on “a tour of duty at the Air Force base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, ” where he lived in the Khobar Towers complex. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of George C. Anthony (“Anthony Decl.”) (June 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 14. While “walking out of [his] bedroom, ” Anthony “felt an immense blast that lifted [him] up and blew [him] back some 20 or 30 feet” where he “landed against a wall.” Id. ¶ 4. After being helped out of the room by one of his roommates, Anthony jumped from a first-floor balcony “to get away from the building, ” and was “guided to a triage area” where Anthony was treated for a dislocated left shoulder. Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Upon his return to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Anthony was told that his shoulder required surgery in order to reattach some of his muscles, and that shoulder “still often hurts.” Id. ¶ 7. One of Anthony's suitemates had been killed in the attack, and Anthony and his wife “spent a lot of time together” with the suitemate's widow “trying to help her get through her grief.” Id. ¶ 8. He “found that it was difficult to process what had happened and to come to grips with the fact that so many of [his] friends died, ” and believes that his inability “to process his emotions” about the attack was “a big reason” for his 2006 divorce. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Anthony left the Air Force in 2011, and received an 80 percent disability rating, owing in part to his PTSD and lingering left shoulder issues. Id. ¶ 10; id, Ex. A, Disabilities Rating, ECF No. 25-2 at 17. Anthony also suffers from “survivors' guilt, wondering how and why [he] survived when so many did not.” Id. ¶ 11.

         3. Frank David Sills III

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Frank David Sills III “was an F-15 aircraft mechanic and crew chief with the 58th Fighter Squadron, and was deployed to Dhahran Air Force Base and housed at the Khobar Towers complex. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Frank David Sills III (“Sills Decl.”) (June 25, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 18. Sills was cleaning up his suite in preparation for his departure the next day and, as he walked past his bathroom, the bomb “blew in everything from the bathroom, including porcelain from the bathtub, and hit [him] all over [his] left side.” Id. ¶ 4. He was “thrown against the wall” and knew “immediately” that he “was bleeding profusely from the head, ” which he attempted to staunch with a pillow. Id. ¶ 5. As Sills attempted to make his way out of the building, he “realized that [his] left leg wasn't working properly” and was carried to the infirmary. Id. He was “evacuated to a local Saudi hospital by ambulance, ” and ultimately “taken to a U.S. military hospital in Ramstein, ” Germany, for further treatment. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. He sustained “a substantial amount of damage to [his] left calf where [he] lost some tissue and muscle, ” requiring six months of recovery before he was able to walk without crutches. Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Sills also required “several [] reconstructive surgeries to [his] face.” Id. ¶ 10. He remained in the Air Force until 2014, and in 2015 was rated 60 percent disabled. Id. ¶ 11; id., Ex. A, VA Letter to Frank Sills (Feb. 4, 2015), ECF No. 25-2 at 21. Sills suffers from “a generalized anxiety disorder” and “severe panic attacks and chronic sleep impairment, ” as well as survivors' guilt-“the sadness and grief of knowing that twelve of [his] close friends and co-workers never returned.” Id. ¶¶ 11-12.

         4. Kevin James Hurst

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Kevin James Hurst was a weapons load crew member with the 58th Fighter Squadron on a tour of duty at Dhahran Air Force Base, where he “was housed at [] Khobar Towers.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Kevin James Hurst (“Hurst Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 78. The bomb detonated while Hurst was asleep, and he “found [him]self elevated above [his] bed, ” as “[g]lass and pieces of rubble began raining down.” Id. ¶ 4. With cuts from broken glass on his feet, he and a suitemate carried another suitemate downstairs and ultimately to a triage area. Id. ¶ 5. Hurst spent the next several hours trying in vain to find “certain of [his] friends, ” only “learn[ing] later the reason why [he] didn't see them-they had been killed in the blast and the collapse of [the] building.” Id. ¶ 6. Since the bombing, he has been diagnosed with “bulging and protruding discs” causing lower back pain, and has “sought and received psychological counseling” for “symptoms of PTSD, ” including being “irritable . . . and more quick to anger.” Id. ¶¶ 7-8.

         5. Nicholas L. MacKenzie

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Nicholas L. MacKenzie was an aircraft maintenance crew chief in the 34th Fighter Squadron on a tour of duty at Dhahran Air Force Base, where he was housed in Khobar Towers. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Nicholas L. MacKenzie (“MacKenzie Decl.”) (June 25, 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 93. He was asleep when the bomb detonated, and “was woken up by a flash of light, which was followed immediately by a loud boom and a blast that sent [his] bed, with [him] in it, crashing against the wall of [his] room.” Id. ¶ 4. He and his suitemates, who each “suffered some injuries but were mobile, ” “checked for injured servicemen on the floor below” and carried a badly-injured fellow airman “down six flights of stairs to the triage area.” Id. ¶ 5. MacKenzie also received treatment at the triage area, and “was later told [he] would be eligible for a Purple Heart but [he] declined because [he] knew there were many more seriously wounded airmen.” Id. ¶ 6. He remained at Khobar Towers for a “harrowing” two and a half months, before leaving the Air Force in 1997 and “bounc[ing] around in several jobs, none lasting very long.” Id. ¶¶ 7-8. Though MacKenzie has, for “personal reasons, ” “declined to seek or receive treatment for PTSD, and therefore ha[s] no formal diagnosis, ” he has “many PTSD symptoms, ” including “startl[ing] easily” and “anger management issues.” Id. ¶ 9. He has “tried to suppress or minimize” the “physical injuries and psychological wounds from the terrorist attack at the Khobar Towers, ” but “know[s] that [his] life was never the same after.” Id. ¶ 10.

         6. Jason Porter Remar

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Jason Porter Remar was an aircraft maintenance crew chief in the 58th Fighter Squadron on a tour of duty at Dhahran Air Force Base, where he was housed in Khobar Towers. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Jason Porter Remar (“Remar Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 96. He was “walking in [a] parking lot not far away” from where the bomb detonated, and “felt a rumble and saw a cloud of dust and gravel approaching” and “tried to run in the opposite direction, but it caught up to [him], knocked [him] down, and carried [him] along the ground for about 15 or 20 feet.” Id. ¶ 4. Remar sought treatment at the triage area for his “numerous cuts and abrasions, ” and does not “remember anything immediately after that but [he] later woke up in a nearby Saudi hospital.” Id. ¶¶ 4-6. “Although . . . not . . .

         hurt too bad, [he] stayed there to stay with [his] friends who were, ” and over the following days “learned the names of [his] friends who were either very badly hurt or killed, ” which “was very painful.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Remar remained in the Air Force, but “was not the same person” and “struggled with major depression” for which he “was prescribed medication” that he still takes. Id. ¶ 8. While he “ha[s] learned to try to cope with what happened in [his] own way, ” and “tr[ies] not to think about” the attack, he “largely” attributes his depression to the bombing. Id. ¶¶ 8-9.

         7. Charles Blank and Four Family Members

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Charles Blank was serving his third tour of duty at the Dhahran Air Force Base as a member of the 34th Fighter Squadron, and was in his living room with three suitemates at the time of the bombing. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Charles Blank (“Charles Blank Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 23. “The entire wall came crashing in, ” and Blank had to be helped out from under “the frame of the glass door” before “crawl[ing] into the hallway.” Id. ¶ 4. He and his suitemates “checked each other's injuries, ” at which point Blank noticed “a puddle of blood under” him, which “seemed to be from [his] legs.” Id. ¶ 6. Before seeking medical help for himself, Blank “check[ed] for injured airmen” in a nearby suite, and “saw another pilot who was squirting blood from his neck.” Id. ¶ 7. While trying to find aid, he assisted others in carrying other injured airmen, including at least one who died while Blank was helping to carry him to triage. Id. Blank ultimately required 22 stitches in his leg, and, for nearly ten years, he and his wife “were still picking and pulling pieces of glass out of [his] legs as they gradually worked their way to the skin surface.” Id. ¶¶ 9, 14. He remained in the Air Force before joining the Air National Guard, but still experiences flashbacks to the Khobar Towers bombing, which are triggered by news of “new terrorist attack[s], ” or by movie “scenes of explosions and flying glass.” Id. ¶¶ 15-18.

         Four of Blank's family members are plaintiffs in this lawsuit: his wife, Linda Kay Blank, son, and two siblings. Blank's wife had not yet heard the news of the bombing when she received “a phone call from [Blank] letting [her] know he was alive. [She] was shaken” but Blank was unable to “talk for long, ” and she did not hear from him again for “a[ ]long time.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Linda Kay Blank (“Linda Blank Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, 6, ECF No. 25-2 at 31. The “days immediately after the explosion were very difficult, ” as she heard from other spouses that her husband “was hurt and that it was serious, ” and she “worried that he might be badly hurt but had been trying to minimize that or just spare” her in his phone call. Id. ¶¶ 5, 7. As a result of the attack, Linda Blank decided to “quit [her] job so that [she] could stay home with” the couple's son, because “in case anything happened to either of [them], [they] didn't want [him] to grow up without really knowing either parent.” Id. ¶ 8. In addition to helping “pull pieces of glass from Charles'[s] body for years after the attack, ” Linda has “gone through everything with him” emotionally as well, even once reading the “diary where [Charles] wrote down much of what happened . . . . It was truly horrifying to read. [She] realized that he was able to write some things that were too hard to talk about.” Id. ¶¶ 10-11.

         Nathan Blank is Blank's son, and, “[a]lthough [he] was very young at the time of the attack, [he] suffered emotional distress and mental anguish throughout [his] childhood because of the devastating effect the attack had on [his] father, [his] mother, and [his] whole family.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Nathan Blank (“Nathan Blank Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 3, 5, ECF No. 25-2 at 34. “The effect this terrorist attack has had on [him] will be everlasting. [Nathan Blank] grew up seeing [his] father's scars and . . . witness[ing] the anguish he has when retelling the events of that day.” Id. ¶ 6.

         Deborah Millrany is Blank's sister, and at the time of the Khobar Towers attack “was working at an airline counter where [she] could see the news on television, and saw some of the reports coming in of an explosion at the Khobar Towers residential complex.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Deborah Millrany (“Millrany Decl.”) (June 27, 2018) ¶¶ 2, 4, ECF No. 25-2 at 36. Knowing that her brother “was stationed in Saudi Arabia [she] became very concerned that he may have been caught in that explosion, ” which concern increased when she “called his wife Linda and could not initially get through.” Id. ¶ 4. Millrany “was fiercely protective of” her brother growing up, and they “remained close in adult life.” Id. ¶ 5. She notes that Blank “became quieter” after returning from Saudi Arabia, and “know[s] he kept a lot in and never wanted to talk about the details of what he experienced. He was almost apologetic about receiving a Purple Heart because he said that there were a lot of airmen who were much more seriously hurt than he was.” Id. ¶ 6.

         Andrew P. Blank is Blank's brother, and was “always very close” with Blank, who “taught [Andrew] how to ride a bike and to play hockey, which [they] played together for over 20 years.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Andrew P. Blank (“Andrew Blank Decl.”) (June 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 29. After initially hearing about the bombing, Andrew Blank “did not hear that [Blank] was injured but OK for about twelve hours after that initial phone call, ” and the wait “was agonizing” as he “saw the rubble and destruction” on the news, along with “reports of deaths and serious injuries.” Id. ¶ 5. The two brothers “had a close bond” and Andrew Blank's “fears for his [brother's] safety and survival were profound. Although [he] was relieved when [he] eventually heard that [Blank] had survived, ” the experience “caused [Andrew] considerable emotional distress. Id. ¶ 6. When Blank returned home, Andrew Blank “could tell that the experience had changed him. He became less open, less optimistic, somewhat withdrawn and a harder person in general. To this day he doesn't want to talk about what happened there, and doesn't want the Purple Heart he was awarded for his injuries to be displayed in his house, ” all of which has made Andrew “sad” and “sorry to see the effect” the attack had on Blank. Id. ¶ 7.

         8. John Gaydos and Three Family Members

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff John Gaydos was an avionics maintenance specialist in the Air Force serving a rotation at the Dhahran Air Force Base, where he was housed at the Khobar Towers complex. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of John Gaydos (“John Gaydos Decl.”) (June 19, 2018) ¶¶ 3-5, ECF No. 25-2 at 38. He was on a couch in his suite's common area when he heard a rumble, and then “experienced a huge blast wave.” Id. ¶ 6. Gaydos was helped out of the building by one of his suitemates, and remembers putting his hand to his ear and feeling “nothing but blood, ” and experiencing “tunnel vision, ” but does not “remember much else after that” but knows he “was helped/carried to medical assistance.” Id. ¶ 8. While receiving “emergency medical care in a triage area that had been set up on a bus, ” Gaydos “lost consciousness but [] remember[s] waking up more than once to notice that [he] was receiving CPR, ” and “[o]ne of the medics kept talking to [him] to try [to] make sure that [he] did not lose consciousness again.” Id. ¶ 9. He was “taken to a small infirmary nearby, ” where he “saw several body bags, ” and observed a “female Captain with one eye hanging out of its socket. She asked one of the medics if it could be saved. He said no, and she calmly proceeded to cut it off with ordinary scissors, asked to have it bandaged, and then proceeded to help others.” Id. Gaydos was then evacuated to a nearby hospital, and then to a military hospital in Germany, where he received surgical treatment for injuries that “included broken bones in [his] skull and left elbow; a severed nerve and ulnar artery damage in [his] left arm; extensive shrapnel wounds to [his] face, arms, and legs, where the glass from the shattered sliding glass doors hit [his] body.” Id. ¶¶ 10-11.

         Gaydos was hospitalized after returning to the United States, and “received additional medical treatment, ” but still “suffer[s] substantial pain in [his] legs and arms almost every single day.” Id. ¶¶ 10, 12. Gaydos “cannot walk any significant distances and cannot stand still for any length of time. [His] left arm has lost much of its mobility and function, and [his] left hand has lost feeling.” Id. ¶ 12. Those physical symptoms, however, “are minor compared to the mental and emotional after-effects of the terrorist attack.” Id. ¶ 13. Gaydos has “had a hard time finding or retaining employment, ” and has “constant recurring nightmares and flashbacks, ” even injuring his wife while flailing during a nightmare. Id. In 2008, he was evaluated as “‘exhibiting severe symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder' and [his] ‘related major depressive disorder and panic disorder, '” id. ¶ 14; see id., Ex. A, Psychological Evaluation of John Gaydos by Phoebe A McLeod, PhD (Mar. 8, 2008), ECF No. 25-2 at 43-45, and was rated as 80 percent disabled, id., Ex. B, VA Rating Decision (Sep. 23, 2015), ECF No. 25-2 at 47. Gaydos “continue[s] to have flashbacks, ” “nightmares, ” and “difficulty sleeping, ” but has “started to receive therapy” and regularly “attend[s] a PTSD support group.” Id. ¶¶ 16-17. Through this treatment, he has become more aware of the ways in which his PTSD symptoms- “irritability, shortness of temper, and sometimes abusive behavior”-have “adversely affected” his family and “been a great burden to them.” Id. ¶ 17.

         Three of Gaydos's family members are plaintiffs in this lawsuit: his wife, Barbara Gaydos, son, and daughter. Gaydos's wife was at home with their two children when her father called to tell her “that something had happened at the Khobar Towers complex.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Barbara Gaydos (“Barbara Gaydos Decl.”) (June 19, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 50. She “learned that there had been a bomb blast and that not all the members of [Gaydos's] unit had been accounted for, ” but “heard nothing about [him] for two full days, ” during which time she “did not know if he was alive or dead, or whether he was badly injured.” Id. ¶ 5. After Gaydos came home, Barbara observed “changes in John” in addition to “his obvious and extensive physical injuries, which required him to use a wheel chair for several months.” Id. ¶ 7. Though Gaydos “had been a very physical, outgoing, and outdoorsy young man, enjoying social interactions and outdoors activities, ” upon “his return, he did not want to go anywhere and became more guarded and distant, ” was “often . . . hunkered down in bed, even during the middle of the day.” Id. ¶ 8. “John also suffered from disordered sleep and nightmares, ” and Barbara Gaydos believes that she sustained a concussion when, during a nightmare, Gaydos “accidentally hit [her] in the head while he was flailing about.” Id. ¶ 9. She has “no doubt that John's PTSD caused by the terrorist bombing ha[s] caused a serious strain on [their] marriage and adversely affected [their] family life, ” including inflicting “considerable emotional distress” on her and their children, who “seem to have suffered secondary or indirect PTSD.” Id. ¶ 13.

         Ethan Gaydos is John and Barbara Gaydos's son, and was “about two and a half years old” at the time of the bombing and does not “have a clear recollection of learning” about it, though he does “recall a vague sense that things were not right and that [his] mother was upset.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Ethan Gaydos (“Ethan Gaydos Decl.”) (June 22, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 53. As Ethan Gaydos grew up, he “became aware that [his father] was troubled by [] demons, ” and “[i]t was not unusual to be woken up in the middle of the night by hearing [him] shouting during one of his nightmares.” Id. ¶ 5. “In general, [his] father was distant and uninvolved, ” though “at times he would get angry at [Ethan] and shout at [him], although he would alter apologize. Because of his injuries and physical limitations, he was not able to play with [Ethan] the way a lot of other dads did.” Id. ¶ 6. Ethan Gaydos has “no doubt that [his] emotional development and growth were adversely affected by the PTSD that affected [his] father after the terrorist attack. Although [he] was very young at the time of the attack, [he] suffered severe emotional distress and mental anguish throughout [his] childhood because of the devastating after-effects the attack had on” his parents and their “whole family.” Id. ¶ 8. The emotional distress of the attack itself continued “throughout [his] childhood and to this day, ” and “[t]he psychological after-effects of the attack were even more difficult, ” as his “whole family has been deeply and adversely affected” by Gaydos's “physical and psychological limitations and deficits.” Id. ¶ 9.

         Elizabeth Gaydos is John and Barbara Gaydos's daughter, and, like her brother, Ethan, she “was very young at the time of the attack and do[es] not remember what happened around that time.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Elizabeth Gaydos (“Elizabeth Gaydos Decl.”) (June 22, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 56. “The attack caused [her] mother to experience severe emotional distress when it happened, and caused [her] family great emotional distress not only when it happened, but also throughout [her] childhood and to this day. The serious injuries suffered by [Gaydos] limited his ability to participate in our family life and to be the same person he was before the attack. The psychological after-effects of the attack were even more difficult for” the family. Id. ¶ 8. Growing up, Elizabeth Gaydos “became aware that it was very difficult to try to get any attention from [her] father, and that [her] mother also had little time for [her]. [She] felt neglected and started to engage in self-harming behaviors, ” and received “anger and blame” from her parents rather than “support or sympathy.” Id. ¶ 4. Elizabeth Gaydos also “seem[s] to have picked up some ‘secondary' symptoms of [her] dad's PTSD, ” as both have similar “large startle[d] reaction[s]” when, for example, a plate is dropped at a restaurant. Id. ¶ 5.

         9. Matthew G. Spicer and Three Family Members

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Matthew G. Spicer was an “F15 avionics technician assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron” serving a tour of duty at Dhahran Air Force Base. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Matthew G. Spicer (“Matthew Spicer Decl.”) (June 25, 2018) ¶ 3, ECF No. 25-2 at 58. That evening, he “shared a smoke with [his] good friend Peter Morgera, ” who was killed in the bombing, before returning to his suite. Id. ¶ 4. The blast occurred while Spicer was sitting on a couch, and he “remember[s] a shaking like an earthquake and a feeling like thunder was going through [him], and that it became dark all of a sudden, ” and he was struck in his legs by fragments of the suite's glass doors as they blew in. Id. ¶ 5. Believing they had been hit by a missile, and thinking more might follow, he and his suitemates “sheltered] in place for a while” before going downstairs to the triage area that had been “set up where the dining area was, ” and Spicer noticed some of his “friends being carried out . . . in very bad shape, screaming in pain.” Id. ¶ 6.[5] After receiving “some first aid for [his] leg wounds, ” Spicer remained at Dhahran “for several more days” before traveling back to the United States, and during that time he “helped load the caskets of [his] comrades who did not” survive “for their final journey back to Dover Air Force base.” Id. ¶ 7. Spicer “often think[s]” of those who died in the bombing, and “sometimes ha[s] ‘flashbacks'” where he “suddenly re-live[s] some of the sights and sounds of that day, ” and states that he also “sometimes become[s] randomly emotional.” Id. ¶ 9. “For personal reasons, ” he “do[es] not want to go to the VA for any sort of psychological evaluation or treatment” and therefore does not have any formal PTSD diagnosis, but instead “‘self-medicate[s]' with alcohol, ” though he does receive “a lot of help and emotional support” from his brother, and has been able to speak to friends about “these experiences and their after-effects.” Id. ¶¶ 9-10.

         Three of Spicer's family members are plaintiffs in this lawsuit: his ex-wife, Cathy Eunha Kim Spicer-Lindsy, son, and brother. Spicer-Lindsy was married to Matthew Spicer at the time of the attack on Khobar Towers, and “was living on base housing with [their] infant son.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Cathy Eunha Kim Spicer-Lindsy (“Cathy Spicer-Lindsy Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 61. After hearing about the bombing of Khobar Towers, she “became very anxious and distraught, ” “suffer[ing] severe emotional distress and mental anguish, ” and remembers “as sheer torture” the time during which she waited to find out that Spicer “had survived and was not seriously injured.” Id. ¶¶ 4-5, 8. When he returned, however, “he was a changed man. He had become moody and withdrawn [and] awoke at night with bad dreams and night sweats.” Id. ¶ 6. Spicer-Lindsy “thought he just needed some time to process what had happened, but things did not improve with time, ” and Spicer “became abusive toward [her], both verbally and otherwise.” Id. Although they “had not had any real problems in [their] marriage before” the bombing, their marriage “deteriorated” after, due to “problems” with “Matthew's mental state . . . caused by the bombing and its after-effects, ” and the two separated in 1999 before divorcing in 2005. Id. ¶¶ 6-7; see also Id. ¶ 9.

         Cathy Spicer-Lindsy also submitted a declaration on behalf of her and Spicer's son, Christian William Spicer, “who has autism and is not verbal, ” and for whom Spicer-Lindsy serves as guardian. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Christian William Spicer (“Spicer- Lindsy for Christian Spicer Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶ 2, ECF No. 25-2 at 66.[6] Christian Spicer “was too young to understand what was happening” after the bombing, but “he suffered from the after-effects.” Id. ¶ 5. “Although he had been a good father, and tried to continue, Matthew ended up largely exiting Christian's life around the 4th grade. After [their] separation and divorce, Matthew's attempts to reach out to Christian were few and far between, ” and Spicer-Lindsy “believe[s] Christian suffered significant harm from the lack of his father's attention, care and concern.” Id. ¶ 6.

         Christopher G. Spicer is Spicer's brother, and on the day of the attack he “received a phone call from [his] aunt telling [him] that something had happened at [] Khobar Towers, ” but that “she did not know what had happened” to Spicer. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Christopher G. Spicer (“Christopher Spicer Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 64. He was “immediately very worried and anxious” while awaiting news about Spicer, and his “fears concerning his survival and safety were intense, ” causing him “great emotional distress.” Id. ¶¶ 4, 8. When Spicer returned, Christopher Spicer observed that “he had been through a lot” and “seemed like a different person, ” and “sensed some psychological scars” in addition to the “physical scars on [his brother's] legs.” Id. ¶ 5. Spicer “was withdrawn and moody at times, ” and “was also emotionally distant.” Id. ¶ 6. After Spicer and Cathy Spicer-Lindsy divorced, Spicer “came to live with” Christopher Spicer, who “was glad to be able to help him during this difficult time.” Id. The brothers are eleven months apart in age, and “had always been very close, ” so “it hurt [Christopher] to see the changes and difficulties [Matthew] went through as a result of the Khobar Towers bombing, ” and Spicer's “psychological trauma . . . became a burden and problem for [their] whole family.” Id. ¶¶ 7-8.

         10. Jerry Timothy Sasser, Jr. and Three Family Members

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Jerry Timothy Sasser, Jr. “was just hours from finishing [his] first tour of duty and was getting ready to go home” from the Dhahran Air Force Base, where he “was present at the Khobar Towers” complex. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Jerry Timothy Sasser, Jr. (“Jerry Sasser Jr. Decl.”) (June 26, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 68. While returning to his room, he “stopped briefly at the room” of three fellow airmen, but declined their invitation to join their card game. Id. ¶ 4. All three were killed in the blast. Id.[7] Sasser “was [on a] phone call home . . . when all the lights went out and [he] heard what sounded like a train, a sonic boom, and an earthquake all at once, ” and he lost consciousness. Id. ¶ 5. “When [he] came to, it appeared that [he] had been thrown forcibly against the wall, ” and his “vision was grayed out and [he] couldn't hear anything.” Id. Once his senses returned, Sasser “spent several hours assisting the wounded and trying to find survivors, ” going “back into the building several times until it became clear that there were no additional survivors.” Id. ¶ 6. Even though he “knew there would be no more, ” he felt he “had to lie to friends who were still hoping to find additional survivors.” Id. While he ignored his own injuries at first, Sasser had sustained “numerous cuts, abrasions, and contusions, ” “many fragments of glass were embedded in [his] body, ” and, as a result of “being thrown against the wall by the blast, he also “had herniated and ruptured discs in [his] back, which have required several major surgeries.” Id. ¶ 7. Sasser remains “in constant pain from these injuries, ” and “take[s] pain medications every day to manage the pain, ” but “[t]he psychological after effects have been even more devastating.” Id. ¶¶ 8-9.

         Sasser is “rated as 100 percent disabled” by the VA, and has “received and continue[s] to receive treatment for traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression.” Id. ¶ 9; id. Ex. A, Letter from VA to Jerry Timothy Sasser re Disability Rating (Apr. 24, 2017), ECF No. 25-2 at 72. These psychological effects have caused Sasser's family relationships to “deteriorate[], ” and he “couldn't keep a job, ” “picked fights with strangers at bars, ” and “started doing drugs, smoking, and drinking heavily.” Id. ¶ 10. “Although [he] eventually sought and received some therapy, [his] family relationships were damaged almost beyond repair, ” and his “first marriage ended in divorce.” Id. ¶ 11. Sasser is now “happily remarried, ” but worries that he “subject[s] [his] wife to [his] own personal demons, ” noting that she “has seen [him] in a ball of tears, hiding from fireworks, ” and “delivering] a tear-filled speech, honoring [his] friends who lost their lives.” Id. ¶ 12. He “suffered severe emotional distress in addition to [his] physical injuries as a result of the terrorist attack”-“trauma” that “is a nightmare that no 20-year old kid should ever have to endure. It ruined [his] life.” Id. ¶¶ 13-14.

         Two of Sasser's family members are plaintiffs in this lawsuit: his parents as well as his brother's estate. Jerry Timothy Sasser, Sr. is Sasser's father, and learned about the Khobar Towers attack from the evening news, and “at about the same time” he “received a call from” his son “letting us know that he had survived.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Jerry Timothy Sasser, Sr. (“Jerry Sasser Sr. Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 2-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 73. “When Jerry returned, ” however, Sasser, Sr. “realized he was not the same active and outgoing young man he had been. He was withdrawn and apathetic. He had used to come to see us frequently but now he did not and even avoided contact with us. He did not return phone calls.” Id. ¶ 5. Sasser, Sr. saw that his son “was not taking steps to get treatment or help” and worried that “he was throwing his life away, ” until “[f]inally [he] . . . insisted [Sasser] get some professional help” or else Sasser, Sr. “would stop helping him as well.” Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Though “gradually [Sasser has] improved somewhat, ” he has “never [been] the same, ” causing Sasser, Sr. “considerable grief and anguish, ” noting that he “felt we had lost a loving and vital family member” due to Sasser's “continuing physical and psychological issues.” Id. ¶¶ 6-8.

         Deborah Homs is Jerry Timothy Sasser, Jr.'s mother, and learned about the Khobar Towers attack from the evening news, but the “news had not really registered with” her when she “received a phone call” from Sasser saying that he had survived. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Deborah Homs (“Homs Decl.”) (June 28, 2018) ¶¶ 2-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 77. Her happiness that Sasser “was ok” was tempered by the knowledge that “he must have gone through a lot, and [she] felt bad for him and his fellow airmen when [she] saw the devastation on tv, ” and she “suffered severe emotional distress when” she “saw pictures of the rubble and devastation on television news reports.” Id. ¶¶ 4, 9. “When Jerry returned, he was not at all the same person. He was in bad shape” and “distanced himself from his family.” Id. ¶ 5. Though he “has gradually improved, ” “[i]t has broken [Homs's] heart to see what happened to him.” Id. ¶¶ 7-8. She “feel[s] [she] lost the happy, optimistic young man [who] had been so involved with his family, his community, and his Church.” Id. ¶ 8.

         Kimberly Watters Sasser is the widow of Jerry's younger brother, Jason Allen Sasser, and a declaration on Jason's behalf has been submitted by Sasser. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Jerry T. Sasser, Jr. on Behalf of the Estate of His Deceased Brother, Jason Allen Sasser (“Jason Sasser Decl.”) (June 2018) ¶¶ 2-3, ECF No. 25-2 at 75; see Motion to Substitute Party, ECF No. 28; Minute Order (July 24, 2018).[8] The brothers “often played together as kids and were very close, ” and Jason “looked up to” Sasser, but “[t]hat all changed when [Sasser] came home after the Khobar Towers attack.” Id. ¶¶ 5-6. Sasser “just shut down emotionally and Jason very much missed having [an] involved older brother, ” and “soon turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of losing [Jerry's] affection.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Jason Sasser “became rebellious and often blamed [his brother] for his life because [Jerry] left him behind, ” and “was in so much pain over the loss of his big brother emotionally.” Id. ¶ 7. Before Jason Sasser's death, the brothers had “just recently started growing closer” after more than 20 years of emotional distance. Id. ¶ 7.

         11. Gregory Eric Leinenbach and One Family Member

         On June 25, 1996, plaintiff Gregory Eric Leinenbach was a member of the 58th Fighter Squadron on a tour of duty at Dhahran Air Force Base, where he was housed in Khobar Towers. Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Gregory Eric Leinenbach (“Leinenbach Decl.”) (June 19, 2018) ¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 25-2 at 81. He was asleep when the bomb detonated, and “was woken up by a loud blast, and flying debris.” Id. ¶ 6. Though his way out of his room was “blocked by toppled furniture and debris, ” Leinenbach was able to evacuate with help from his suitemates, and made his way to a “triage facility, where [he] received initial first aid for [his] wounds, ” which included cuts on his legs from “pieces of glass [that] were embedded in them.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. “The rest of that night was a blur, ” and over the following days he “received word on who the fatalities were, ” including several of Leinenbach's friends, which “affected [him] deeply.” Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Upon his return to the United States, he received additional medical treatment, “including removal of more pieces of glass embedded in [his] legs and stitches to repair the wounds, ” and pieces of glass continued to surface for “many months after” as well. Id. ¶ 10.

         After leaving the Air Force in 2003, Leinenbach had “difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, . . . and had some trouble with relationships with [his] co-workers, ” and “found it difficult to maintain employment for any significant amount of time, ” and has been unemployed since 2011. Id. ¶¶ 12, 15. At his wife's urging, he sought help from the VA, where he was diagnosed with PTSD and has “received therapy, counseling, and medication.” Id. ¶ 13. He is rated “50 percent disabled” by the VA. Id. Leinenbach “suffered severe emotional distress . . . as a result of the 1996 terrorist attack, ” which “haunt[s] [him] to this day.” Id. ¶ 16. He is “afraid of crowds and avoid[s] them, [] startle[s] easily, and sleep[s] badly, with frequent and recurring nightmares, ” and “anger[s] easily, ” all of which “have had a persistent negative affect on [his] life and [his] relationships within [his] family.” Id. ¶¶ 16-17. Plaintiff Joy Leinenbach is Gregory Leinenbach's wife, and was at work when she received a phone call from her father-in-law telling her that there had been an explosion at Khobar Towers, but no specific “information about Greg.” Pls.' Damages Mot., Attach 2, Decl. of Joy Leinenbach (“Joy Leinenbach Decl.”) (June 19, 2018) ¶¶ 3, 6, ECF No. 25-2 at 87. She “was immediately gripped by tremendous anxiety and emotional distress, ” and “worried” that her husband, to whom she “was very close, ” had been “severely injured or killed, ” and did not learn until “about a day and a half later that he “was injured but ok”-a wait that was “sheer agony for [her].” Id. ¶ 7. Joy Leinenbach “sensed very quickly that ...


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