Thursday, April 09, 2015

09-Apr-15: Another decision against Jordan's Arab Bank in Anti-Terrorism Act law case

Arab Bank premises in the financial district of downtown Amman,
Jordan [Image Source]
Another court decision (text here) was handed down Wednesday in the long-running Anti-Terrorism Act litigation in New York known as Courtney Linde et al -v- Arab Bank PLC. 

It's a major legal event in which the Jordan-based bank, which refers to itself as "the largest global Arab banking network", is being sued by multiple plaintiffs for giving support to the terrorists of Hamas. Those plaintiffs are the families of more than 100 American citizens killed or injured in two dozen terror attacks that we describe below.

Most of Arab Bank Verdict Survives Defense Motions
Andrew Keshner | New York Law Journal | April 9, 2015 
A judge has refused to upset most of a jury verdict that found Arab Bank civilly liable for the material support of Hamas during the Second Intifada.
"The verdict was based on volumes of damning circumstantial evidence that the defendant knew its customers were terrorists," Eastern District Judge Brian Cogan wrote in a 94-page decision released today, denying most of the bank's bid for judgment as a matter of law.
In September, jurors decided that Arab Bank's knowing material support, in the form of financial services, was linked to 24 terror attacks in Israel carried out by Hamas. Cogan presided over the six-week trial leading up to the closely-watched verdict (NYLJ, Sept. 23, 2014).
On Wednesday, Cogan said the plaintiffs, survivors of the attacks or their relatives, failed to show Hamas' responsibility for two of the 24 attacks. Cogan rebuffed the bank's call for a new trial under the civil liability provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act. He also refused to certify an interlocutory appeal on the liability verdict.
The case is thought to be the first time a financial institution had been tried on allegations it violated the Anti-Terrorism Act's civil provisions.
In their post-verdict motions, the bank - which hotly disputes that it knowingly aided terrorists - called the jury's conclusions "a miscarriage of justice" (NYLJ, Oct. 14, 2014). A trial on the damages portion of the case, Linde v. Arab Bank, 04-CV-2799, is upcoming.
The legal case against Arab Bank, Jordan's largest financial institution, got underway in 2004. It relates to some 24 specific acts of terror alleged by the plaintiffs to have been committed by Hamas between 2001 and 2004. From September 22, 2014 onwards, the word "alleged" is less relevant since, on that date, the federal jury in the trial "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" [NYTimes].

The 24 Hamas-executed terror attacks [based on OsenLaw website's listing] that have been at the heart of this legal case, involving innocent people murdered, injured, bereaved and suffering, are:
  • Bombing of a gas station at Neve Yamin (near Kfar Saba) - March 28, 2001
  • Bombing of the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium - June 1, 2001
  • Human-bomb attack on the central Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria - August 9, 2001
  • Multiple bombings at central Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda mall - December 1, 2001
  • Bombing and shooting attack in Emmanuel (Samaria District) - December 12, 2001
  • Shooting attack in Atzmona - March 7, 2002
  • Bombing of Jerusalem's Café Moment - March 9, 2002
  • Bombing of Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover night - March 27, 2002
  • Bombing of the Sheffield Club, Rishon Letzion - May 7, 2002
  • Bombing of Egged city bus 32A in Jerusalem, close to Pat Junction - June 18, 2002
  • Bombing of Frank Sinatra Cafeteria, Hebrew University of Jerusalem - July 31, 2002
  • Bombing of Dan bus 4 on Allenby Street in central Tel Aviv - September 19, 2002
  • Shooting attack in Ofra on Route 60  - January 29, 2003
  • Bombing of Haifa bus 37 - March 5, 2003
  • Shooting attack in Kiryat Arba - March 7, 2003
  • Bombing of Tel Aviv beachside Mike's Place club - April 30, 2003
  • Bombing of Egged bus 6 in Jerusalem's French Hill neighbourhood - May 18, 2003
  • Bombing of Egged bus 14A on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road - June 11, 2003 
  • Sniper-shooting attack on a vehicle traveling on Route 60, near Ofra, north of Jerusalem - June 20, 2003 
  • Bombing of Egged bus 2 in north Jerusalem - August 19, 2003
  • Bombing of Jerusalem's Café Hillel (German Colony/Emek Refaim) - September 9, 2003
  • Shooting attack at Tel Romeida, Hevron - October 22, 2003
  • Bombing of Jerusalem Egged bus 19 very close to the Prime Minister's official residence in Rehavia - January 29, 2004 [but see below]
  • Mortar attack on Neve Dekalim community in Gush Katif (Gaza Strip) - September 24, 2004 [but see below]
Judge Cogan refers in yesterday's decision to the assertion by Arab Bank's lawyers that the plaintiffs failed to prove Hamas’ responsibility for perpetrating all 24 attacks. This, he says, is "not remotely supported by the record..." other than in the case of the last two attacks in the list above: the January 29, 2004 bombing of the Jerusalem Egged bus 19, and the mortar attack on Neve Dekalim on September 24, 2004. "As to these two attacks, defendant is correct", he wrote, citing "insufficient evidence". For the purposes of this litigation, the other 22 attacks remain the responsibility of Hamas. 

The next phase of the trial is likely to get underway in July when the parties come before Judge Cogan again in a hearing to determine how much will have to be paid by Arab Bank by way of damages in three specific attacks of the 22. Until then, according to a Newsday report, Judge Cogan  
ruled that no appeal of his controversial rulings will be allowed until a trial to assess damages is complete.

1 comment:

AndyL said...

All of these attacks, of course, almost immediately followed Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.