In re Terrorist Attacks On September 11, 2001, No. 03 MDL 1570(RCC).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
Writing for the CourtCasey
Citation349 F.Supp.2d 765
PartiesIn re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. Ashton v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army Tremsky v. Qsama Bin Laden Salvo v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. Federal Insurance v. Al Qaida Barrera v. Al Qaeda Islamic Army Vigilant Insurance v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Decision Date18 January 2005
Docket NumberNo. 03 CIV. 5738.,No. 03 CIV. 5071.,No. 03 MDL 1570(RCC).,No. 03 CIV. 7036.,No. 02 CIV. 7300.,No. 02 CIV. 6977.,No. 02 CIV. 1616.,No. 03 CIV. 6978.,No. 03 CIV. 8591.
349 F.Supp.2d 765
In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001
Burnett
v.
Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. Ashton
v.
Al Qaeda Islamic Army Tremsky
v.
Qsama Bin Laden Salvo
v.
Al Qaeda Islamic Army Burnett
v.
Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. Federal Insurance
v.
Al Qaida Barrera
v.
Al Qaeda Islamic Army Vigilant Insurance
v.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
No. 03 MDL 1570(RCC).
No. 02 CIV. 1616.
No. 02 CIV. 6977.
No. 02 CIV. 7300.
No. 03 CIV. 5071.
No. 03 CIV. 5738.
No. 03 CIV. 6978.
No. 03 CIV. 7036.
No. 03 CIV. 8591.
United States District Court, S.D. New York.
January 18, 2005.

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Andrew J. Maloney, III, Blanca I. Rodriguez, Brian J. Alexander, David Beekman, David C. Cook, Francis G. Fleming, James P. Kreindler, Justin Timothy Green, Lee S. Kreindler, Marc S. Moller, Milton G. Sincoff, Noah H. Kushlefsky, Paul S. Edelman, Robert James Spragg, Steven R. Pounian, Kreindler & Kreindler, New York City, Elliot R. Feldman, J. Scott Tarbutton, John M. Popilock, Sean P. Carter, Stephen A. Cozen, Cozen O'Connor (Philadelphia), Philadelphia, PA, for Plaintiffs.

David P. Gersch, Arnold & Porter, L.L.P., Donna M. Sheinbach, Michael D. McNeely, Nancy Luque, Steven A. Maddox, Gray Cary Ware and Friedenrich LLP (DC), Mitchell Rand Berger, Ronald Stanley Liebman, Patton Boggs LLP (DC), Martin Francis McMahon, Stephanie Wall Fell, Martin F. McMahon and Associates, Thomas Peter Steindler, McDermott, Will and Emery (DC), James Ernest Gauch, Jennifer Allyson Shumaker, Jonathan Chapman Rose, Melissa Danielle Stear, Michael Peter Gurdak, Michael Rollin Shumaker, Stephen Joseph Brogan, Timothy John Finn, Jones Day (DC), Louis Richard Cohen, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (Washington), William Horace Jeffress, Jr., Christopher R. Cooper, Sara E. Kropf, Jamie S. Kilberg, Baker Botts LLP (DC), Christopher Mark Curran, White & Case LLP (DC), David Charles Frederick, John Christopher Rozendaal, Mark Charles Hansen, Michael John Guzman, Michael K. Kellogg, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans PLLC (DC), Lawrence Saul Robbins, Robbins Russell Englert Orseck & Untereiner LLP, Washington, DC, Jean Engelmayer Kalicki, Arnold & Porter, LLP, John Joseph Walsh, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Omar T. Mohammedi, Law Office of Omar T. Mohammedi, Brian Howard Polovoy, Shearman & Sterling LLP (New York), Geoffrey S. Stewart, Michael Bradley, Jones Day, Matthew Phineas Previn, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, L.L.P., T. Barry Kingham, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt and Mosle LLP, New York City, Wilmer Parker, III, Gillen Parker and Withers LLC, Atlanta, GA, Lynne Bernabei, Alan R. Kabat, Bernabei & Katz, PLLC, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

Michael J. Sommi, Cozen O'Connor, New York City, for Movants.

Opinion and Order

CASEY, District Judge.


On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the al Qaeda terrorist network hijacked four United States passenger airplanes and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and — due to passengers' efforts to foil the hijackers — an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Thousands of people on the planes, in the buildings, and on the ground were killed in those attacks, countless others were injured, and billions of dollars of property was destroyed.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, on December 9, 2003 the Multidistrict Litigation Panel centralized six then-pending September 11-related cases before this Court "for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings." Additional actions, that are not the subject of this opinion, have since been filed. Plaintiffs in these consolidated actions are more than three thousand survivors, family members, and representatives of victims, and insurance carriers seeking to hold responsible for the attacks the persons and entities that supported and funded al Qaeda. The complaints allege

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that over two hundred defendants directly or indirectly provided material support to Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorists. Generally, these defendants fall into one of several categories: al Qaeda and its members and associates; state sponsors of terrorism; and individuals and entities, including charities, banks, front organizations, terrorist organizations, and financiers who provided financial, logistical, and other support to al Qaeda.1 See, e.g., Ashton Complaint ¶ 5; Burnett Complaint "Introduction"; Federal Complaint ¶¶ 42-66. The complaints assert subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq.; and causes of action under the Torture Victim Protection Act ("TVPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 note; the Antiterrorism Act ("ATA"), 18 U.S.C. § 2331 et seq.; the Alien Tort Claims Act ("ATCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1350; the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.; theories of aiding and abetting, conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, survival, wrongful death, trespass, and assault and battery.

Several motions to dismiss are pending before the Court. At the suggestion of counsel, the Court scheduled oral arguments in groups organized generally by grounds for dismissal. On September 14, 2004, the Court heard oral argument on the motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the FSIA by HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud ("Prince Sultan"), HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud ("Prince Turki"),2 and the National Commercial

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Bank ("NCB").3 On October 12, 2004 the Court heard oral argument from Defendants who filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, including Prince Sultan, HRH Prince Mohamed Al-Faisal Al-Saud ("Prince Mohamed"),4 the estate of Mohammad Abdullah Aljomaih,5 Sheikh Hamad Al-Husani,6 NCB, Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz,7 the Saudi Binladin Group, Tariq Binladin, Omar Binladin, and Bakr Binladin.8 Although their counsel did not argue on that day, motions to dismiss by the African Muslim Agency, Grove Corporate, Inc., Heritage Education Trust, International Institute of Islamic Thought, Mar-Jac Investments, Inc., Mena Corporation, Reston Investments, Inc., Safa Trust, Sana-Bell Inc., Sterling Charitable Gift Fund, Sterling Management Group, Inc., and York Foundation, (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "SAAR Network"),9 Prince Turki, and Adel A.J. Batterjee,10 also raised personal jurisdiction defenses. On October 14, 2004 the Court heard oral argument from certain Defendants arguing Plaintiffs had failed to state a claim, including Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation (hereinafter "Al Rajhi Bank"),11 the Saudi American Bank,12 Arab Bank,13 NCB, the SAAR Network, Prince Mohamed, Al Baraka Investment & Development Corporation and Saleh Abdullah Kamel,14 Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz, the Saudi Binladin Group, and Adel A.J. Batterjee. Finally, the last of this group of motions was entertained on

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November 5, 2004, when the Court heard oral argument from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its motion to dismiss the Federal Insurance complaint.15

I. Subject Matter Jurisdiction Under the FSIA

Under the FSIA, a foreign state and its instrumentalities are presumed immune from United States courts' jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia v. Nelson, 507 U.S. 349, 355, 113 S.Ct. 1471, 123 L.Ed.2d 47 (1993); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1602-1607. The FSIA's exceptions to immunity provide the sole basis for obtaining subject matter jurisdiction over a foreign state and its instrumentalities in federal court. Argentine Republic v. Amerada Hess Shipping Corp., 488 U.S. 428, 439, 109 S.Ct. 683, 102 L.Ed.2d 818 (1989); Robinson v. Gov't of Malaysia, 269 F.3d 133, 138 (2d Cir.2001). Federal courts must inquire at the "threshold of every action" against a foreign state whether the exercise of its jurisdiction is appropriate. Verlinden B.V. v. Cent. Bank of Nigeria, 461 U.S. 480, 493, 103 S.Ct. 1962, 76 L.Ed.2d 81 (1983).

A. Standard of Review

In a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss challenging subject matter jurisdiction under the FSIA, "the defendant must first `present a prima facie case that it is a foreign sovereign.'" Virtual Countries v. Republic of South Africa, 300 F.3d 230, 241 (2d Cir.2002) (quoting Cargill Int'l S.A. v. M/T Pavel Dybenko, 991 F.2d 1012, 1016 (2d Cir.1993)). In response, the plaintiff must present evidence that one of the statute's exceptions nullifies the immunity. Virtual Countries, 300 F.3d at 241 ("Determining whether this burden is met involves a `review of the allegations in the complaint, the undisputed facts, if any, placed before the court by the parties, and — if the plaintiff comes forward with sufficient evidence to carry its burden of production on this issue — resolution of disputed issues of fact.'") (citing Robinson, 269 F.3d at 141); Leutwyler v. Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, 184 F.Supp.2d 277, 287 (S.D.N.Y.2001) (explaining plaintiff may "rebut the presumption of immunity ... by proffering evidence of record that the defendant undertook certain activities that fall within the scope" of one of the statutory exceptions) (citing Drexel Burnham Lambert Group Inc. v. Comm. of Receivers for A.W. Galadari, 12 F.3d 317, 325 (2d Cir.1993)). In challenging this Court's subject matter jurisdiction, the moving Defendants retain the ultimate burden of persuasion. Virtual Countries, 300 F.3d at 241 (citing Cargill, 991 F.2d at 1016); Robinson, 269 F.3d at 141 n. 8 (noting defendant's burden must be met with a preponderance of the evidence).

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  • ABECASSIS v. WYATT, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-3884
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 31, 2011
    ...e.g.,Linde v. Arab Bank, 384 F. Supp. 2d 571, 580 (E.D.N.Y. 2005); In re Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 (Terrorist Attacks I), 349 F. Supp. 2d 765, 828-29 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); 2 Ved P. Nanda & David K. Pansius, Litigation of Int'l Disputes in U.S. Courts § 9.18 (2d ed. 2008 & Supp. 2010). ......
  • Cohen v. Facebook, Inc., 16-CV-4453 (NGG) (LB) 16-CV-5158 (NGG) (LB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 18, 2017
    ...provisions depends only on a party's contact with the United States as a whole. See. e.g., In re Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 806 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) ; cf. Mariash v. Morrill, 496 F.2d 1138, 1143 (2d Cir. 1974) (noting that personal jurisdiction predicated on nationwi......
  • Republic of Colombia v. Diageo North America Inc., No. 04-CV-4372 (NGG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • June 19, 2007
    ...at any early stage of the litigation." Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. (In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001), 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 827 (S.D.N.Y.2005) (quotation marks III. REVENUE RULE A. Background The Second Circuit recently explained that "[t]he revenue rule is a longstand......
  • O'Bryan v. Holy See, No. 07-5078.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 24, 2008
    ...the entire tort must be committed in the United States."); see also Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. (In re Terrorist Attacks), 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 795 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (collecting Second Circuit cases). But see Olsen v. Gov't of Mexico, 729 F.2d 641, 646 (9th Cir.1984) (abrogated on ot......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
116 cases
  • ABECASSIS v. WYATT, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-3884
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 31, 2011
    ...e.g.,Linde v. Arab Bank, 384 F. Supp. 2d 571, 580 (E.D.N.Y. 2005); In re Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 (Terrorist Attacks I), 349 F. Supp. 2d 765, 828-29 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); 2 Ved P. Nanda & David K. Pansius, Litigation of Int'l Disputes in U.S. Courts § 9.18 (2d ed. 2008 & Supp. 2010). ......
  • Cohen v. Facebook, Inc., 16-CV-4453 (NGG) (LB) 16-CV-5158 (NGG) (LB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 18, 2017
    ...provisions depends only on a party's contact with the United States as a whole. See. e.g., In re Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 806 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) ; cf. Mariash v. Morrill, 496 F.2d 1138, 1143 (2d Cir. 1974) (noting that personal jurisdiction predicated on nationwi......
  • Republic of Colombia v. Diageo North America Inc., No. 04-CV-4372 (NGG).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • June 19, 2007
    ...at any early stage of the litigation." Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. (In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001), 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 827 (S.D.N.Y.2005) (quotation marks III. REVENUE RULE A. Background The Second Circuit recently explained that "[t]he revenue rule is a longstand......
  • O'Bryan v. Holy See, No. 07-5078.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 24, 2008
    ...the entire tort must be committed in the United States."); see also Burnett v. Al Baraka Inv. & Dev. Corp. (In re Terrorist Attacks), 349 F.Supp.2d 765, 795 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (collecting Second Circuit cases). But see Olsen v. Gov't of Mexico, 729 F.2d 641, 646 (9th Cir.1984) (abrogated on ot......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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