United States District Court, District of Columbia
KENT M. MAUPIN, et al., Plaintiffs
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC, et al., Defendants.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case arises from the death of an American, Keith Matthew
Maupin, in Iraq sometime between 2004 and 2008. Plaintiffs
LeaAnn Cottrell and Stephen Spencer are the half-blood
siblings of the decedent on his mother’s side, and
Plaintiff Kent Maupin is the half-blood sibling of the
decedent on his father’s side. Plaintiffs allege that
Maupin was killed by a terrorist organization led by Abu
Mus’ab al-Zarqawi (the “Zarqawi Terrorist
Organization”). Proceeding under the Foreign Sovereign
Immunities Act (“FSIA”), Plaintiffs allege that
Defendants Syrian Arab Republic (“Syria”) and the
Syrian Military Intelligence provided material support and
resources to the Zarqawi Terrorist Organization and
accordingly should be held liable for this death. The Court
have not answered or otherwise participated in this
litigation. The case accordingly proceeded in a default
setting. The Court did not require a liability hearing, as
this case involves the same issue as was presented in
Foley v. Syrian Arab Republic, No. 11-cv-699
(D.D.C). In that case, following a liability hearing, this
Court concluded that Syria and the Syrian Military
Intelligence were liable for the death of Maupin, and
provided damages to his estate as well as to his parents.
Foley, No. 11-cv-699, ECF No. 76; see also
generally Foley v. Syrian Republic, 249 F.Supp. 3d 186
(D.D.C. 2017). Adopting the factual findings and conclusions
of law from Foley, in a previous Memorandum Opinion,
the Court determined that Plaintiffs established their claims
by evidence satisfactory to the Court, and accordingly
granted default judgment against Defendants as to liability.
March 20, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order, ECF No. 27. The
Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law in that
Memorandum Opinion and Order are incorporated into this
Memorandum Opinion as though stated in full. The Court
referred the issue of damages to a Special Master.
consideration of the pleadings, the relevant legal authorities,
and the record as a whole, the Court will now grant
Plaintiffs default judgment in this case in full. It will
affirm and adopt the Special Master’s findings and
recommendations on damages.
filed this lawsuit on June 20, 2017. Compl., ECF No. 1. On
January 2, 2019, Plaintiffs moved for an entry of default,
contending that service had been completed as to Defendants
Syria and Syrian Military Intelligence under 28 U.S.C. §
1603(a)(4), and that Defendants had failed to answer or
otherwise respond within 60 days. ECF No. 23. On January 3,
2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion. January 3,
2019 Minute Order. The Court found that Plaintiffs had
accomplished service by conveying the service documents to
the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by way of the Czech
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accordingly, the Court ordered
the Clerk of the Court to enter a default as to Defendants
Syria and the Syrian Military Intelligence pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Id. The Clerk of the Court
entered default on January 3, 2019. ECF No. 24.
Court was not required to hold a liability hearing in this
matter as this case involves the same issue as was presented
in Foley v. Syrian Arab Republic, No. 11-cv-699
(D.D.C). The Court took judicial notice and adopted the
relevant findings of fact and conclusions of law from
Foley as to Defendants’ liability.
previous Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court granted
Plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment against each
Defendant as to liability. ECF No. 26. The Court then
appointed Alan Balaran as a Special Master to administer
damages proceedings. ECF No. 31. The Court ordered Mr.
Balaran to file a damages report. Id. The Court
further ordered that any party could file an objection to Mr.
Balaran’s report within 21 days of the filing on the
public docket. Id. The Court further ordered that
failure to meet this deadline would result in permanent
waiver of objections to Mr. Balaran’s findings, and
that absent objection, Mr. Balaran’s findings, report
and recommendations would be deemed approved, accepted and
ordered by the Court, unless the Court provided otherwise.
Master Balaran reviewed the record in this case upon which
the Court based its liability findings, and also received
additional evidence. On September 18, 2019, Special Master
Balaran filed his damages report. ECF No. 32. The Special
Master recommended that each of the three Plaintiffs receive
an enhancement of $1 million in addition to the $2.5 million
baseline award set out in Heiser v. Islamic Republic of
Iran, 466 F.Supp.2d 229 (D.D.C. 2006), for a total of
$3.5 million each in compensatory damages for loss of
solatium. Id. at 16.
the Special Master’s Report, Plaintiffs filed a Motion
asking the Court to adopt the Special Master’s report
in whole. ECF No. 33. Plaintiffs stated that they have no
objections to the Special Master’s fact findings or
conclusions of law. The Court has reviewed the Special
Master’s Report and agrees with the Special
Master’s fact findings and conclusions of law.
Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the Special’s Masters
Report in full.
foregoing reasons, the Court adopts and affirms the Special
Master’s damages report, including the conclusions and
analysis. The Court will order that Plaintiffs be granted
damage awards in the amounts specified by the Special Master.
Default judgment having now been entered for Plaintiffs, this
case will be dismissed. An appropriate order accompanies this