The determination of the the same lawyers who mounted successful cases against: the asbestos industry, big tobacco and lead paint companies, once again achieved victory in the civil justice system.
While workers' compensation is a primary and limited payment of benefits, the real force for potential change in behavior is the responsibility imposed through litigation in the civil justice system against the ultimate wrongdoer. The lawyers who fought the arduous task against the Arab banks have accomplished a monumental victory that will all benefit mankind.
"The eleven member jury agreed with plaintiffs’ claims that Arab Bank knowingly and systematically provided financial support to the leadership of Hamas and to the families of terrorist operatives including suicide bombers. Motley Rice LLC represents nearly 20 U.S. citizens injured in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, in addition to dozens of other American victims of terrorism carried out by other groups, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and thousands of foreign plaintiffs under the Alien Tort Statute also pursuing claims against Arab Bank.
“We are so pleased that these plaintiffs have achieved justice after this brutal ten-year battle. Today’s verdict is a testament to their fortitude and determination,” said Motley Rice anti-terrorism and human rights attorney Michael Elsner, who represents plaintiffs in the case. “The late Motley Rice co-founder Ron Motley filed this action back in 2004. His passion for justice and his trust in jury trials was realized today. We all have a role to play in preventing terrorism in whatever sector we operate. It is now clearer than ever that this obligation extends to banks.”
“I strongly believe that this jury’s verdict marks a critical point in history and hopefully a turning point in the war against terrorism, especially now that we are faced with the rise of more terrorists,” stated Motley Rice client Joshua Faudem, who was injured in the Mike’s Place suicide attack bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 30, 2003. “By cutting off the financial support for terrorism, we are able to hurt terrorists the most. Without funding, they are not able to have the means to purchase equipment, bombs or arms, gain access to carry out violent acts or to create an elaborate system of support. I am proud to be part of this historic case.”
“This is a historic day for the banking industry. This jury’s verdict should be a wake-up call to all financial institutions that they cannot hide behind software systems and internal policies as an excuse to knowingly permit the financing of terrorism,” Elsner added. “Money is the fuel for terror and our only hope in preventing terrorism is shutting off the financial pipeline. Today’s verdict is a victory against terrorists and their networks of support.”
A federal jury on Monday found Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorism efforts connected to two dozen attacks in the Middle East, the first time a bank has ever been held liable in a civil suit under a broad antiterrorism statute.
Arab Bank, a major Middle Eastern bank with $46 billion in assets, was accused of knowingly supporting specific terrorist acts in and around Israel during the second Palestinian uprising of the early 2000s.
The verdict is expected to have a strong impact on similar legal efforts to hold financial institutions responsible for wrongdoing by their clients, even if the institutions followed banking rules, and could be seen as a deterrent for banks that conduct business in violent areas.
The plaintiffs in this case, about 300 victims of 24 terrorist attacks, said the acts had been carried out by Hamas, and accused Arab Bank of supporting the organization by handling transfers and payments for Hamas members.
“Terrorist organizations are dependent on the financial system to operate,” Gary Osen, a plaintiffs’ lawyer, said after the verdict. “They’ve been able to thrive largely because folks like Arab Bank and others have turned a blind eye.”
Damages will be decided in a separate trial, which has not yet been scheduled. The plaintiffs have not asked for a specific amount.
The burden of proof in the trial, held at Federal District Court in Brooklyn, was high: The plaintiffs had to prove that the terrorist attacks...
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