Friday, February 03, 2006

African Embassy Bombing Case Goes Forward

Last week the D.C. District Court ruled that the claims against Sudan for materially supporting the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya may go forward. In Owens v. Sudan, the court ruled that there were sufficient allegations that Sudan materially supported the terrorist attacks to overcome a motion to dismiss. The concise holding is that if you finance terrorism, in a properly pled case plaintiffs can pursue claims to hold you accountable in United States courts.

The decision will be significant for future terrorist cases as it addresses concerns such as the sufficiency of the allegations of material support, the jurisdictional requirements of causation, and joint-tort theories. I think the joint-tort theory is particularly significant. It is not necessary to directly commit the terrorist attacks. A claim of aiding and abetting is sufficient. (No mention in the case about the extraterritorial application of state tort laws discussed here).

Hunton & Williams was on the case for the Government of Sudan. The law firms of Fay & Perles and Karp Frosh, were on the case for the plaintiffs.


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