Nejad v. US, CV 89-3991 AWT

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
Writing for the CourtJames M. FitzSimons, Richard R. Nelson, Mendes & Mount, Los Angeles, Cal., for Martin Marietta Corp
Citation724 F. Supp. 753
PartiesAhmad Ghaderi NEJAD, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendants.
Docket Number89-4610 AWT,89-4665 AWT,89-4618 AWT,and 89-5254 AWT.,No. CV 89-3991 AWT,CV 89-3991 AWT
Decision Date07 November 1989

724 F. Supp. 753

Ahmad Ghaderi NEJAD, et al., Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES of America, et al., Defendants.

Nos. CV 89-3991 AWT, 89-4610 AWT, 89-4618 AWT, 89-4665 AWT, and 89-5254 AWT.

United States District Court, C.D. California.

November 7, 1989.

724 F. Supp. 754

S. Shawn Khastoo, Khastoo, Saboorian & Associates, Beverly Hills, Cal., for plaintiffs.

Herbert L. Fenster, Raymond B. Biagini, Heather A. Garlock, William R. Stoughton, McKenna, Conner & Cuneo, Los Angeles, Cal., for Raytheon Co., Gen. Dynamics Corp., FMC Corp., Hughes Aircraft Co., The Johns Hopkins University and Unisys Corp.

James M. FitzSimons, Richard R. Nelson, Mendes & Mount, Los Angeles, Cal., for Martin Marietta Corp.

W. Reece Bader, Matthew D. Powers, Garrett Sanderson, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, San Francisco, Cal., W. Douglas Kari, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Los Angeles, Cal., for Gen. Elec. Co. and RCA, Government Systems Div.

Joseph F. Coyne, Jr., Mary E. Tarduno, Ryan D. McCortney, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, Los Angeles, Cal., for Honeywell Corp.

Elliot E. Polebaum, Molly Munger, Milton Eisenberg, P.C., Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Washington, D.C., for Computer Sciences Corp.

Stuart E. Schiffer, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Gary W. Allen, Director, Aviation/Admiralty Torts Branch, David V. Hutchinson, Asst. Director, Admiralty Torts Branch, John J. Connors, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Torts Branch, Civ. Div., Washington, D.C., James R. Sullivan, Asst. U.S. Atty., Asst. Chief, Civ. Div., Los Angeles, Cal., for U.S.


TASHIMA, District Judge.

This is an action arising out of the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988. Flight 655 was shot down over the Persian Gulf by missile fire from the USS Vincennes. All 290 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft died. Plaintiffs are "the families and economic dependents" of four of the passengers aboard Flight 655 who perished aboard the flight. Defendants are the United States and 12 defense contractors who supplied the ship or various of its equipment and systems, including the AEGIS weapon system to the United States Navy.

On the basis of materials supplied by the government and unchallenged by any other party, the Court takes judicial notice of the following facts:1

The Vincennes was sent to the Persian Gulf by the President to protect neutral shipping from the war between Iran and Iraq. On July 4, 1988, the day after the incident, the President reported to Congress that at the time of the incident the Vincennes was under fire from Iranian gunboats and that it believed Flight 655 to be a hostile military aircraft. "Regrettably, in the course of the U.S. attack, an Iranian civilian airliner was shot down by the Vincennes, which was firing in self defense at what it believed to be a hostile Iranian military aircraft." The President further stated that "The actions of U.S. forces in response to being attacked by Iranian small boats were taken in accordance with our inherent right of self-defense, as recognized in Article 5 of the United Nations Charter, and pursuant to my constitutional authority with respect to the conduct of foreign relations and as Commander in Chief." Although the United States later announced that it would make ex gratia payment to families of the victims, it continues to maintain its position that its actions constituted the lawful use of force in self-defense and that Iran was ultimately responsible for the incident.

The first claim is for wrongful death; the second claim for negligent manufacture; the third claim for strict liability; the fourth claim for breach of implied warranty; and, the fifth claim for punitive damages. All defendants who have appeared have moved to dismiss on various grounds. Each of these grounds is briefly discussed below.

724 F. Supp. 755


In Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962), the Court set forth the several formulations which describe the settings which give rise to a political, or nonjusticiable, question.

Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found 1 a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department; or 2 a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; or 3 the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion; or 4 the impossibility of a court's undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government; or 5 an unusual need for

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11 cases
  • Rux v. Republic of Sudan, Civil Action No. 2:04cv428.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • 25 July 2007
    ...16. The only case cited by Plaintiffs which remotely discusses whether foreign states may be sued under DOHSA, Nejad v. United States, 724 F.Supp. 753 (C.D.Cal.1989), involved a suit against the United States and its contractors — not a foreign government. Morever, though Nejad does state, ......
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    • United States
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    • 19 November 2013
    ...whether directly—by restricting what may be done—or indirectly—by restricting how the executive may do it”); Nejad v. United States, 724 F.Supp. 753, 755 (C.D.Cal.1989) (rejecting plaintiffs' characterization of action as challenging “only the negligent manner in which the President's decis......
  • Bixby v. Kbr Inc., CV 09–632–PK.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • 22 October 2010
    ...Co., 833 F.Supp. 1486 (C.D.Cal.1993); Zuckerbraun v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 755 F.Supp. 1134 (D.Conn.1990); Nejad v. United States, 724 F.Supp. 753 (C.D.Cal.1989). Defendant's cited cases, in addition to not being controlling authority for this Court, are distinguishable from the case at bar.......
  • McMahon v. Presidential Airways, Inc., 6:05-CV-1002ORL28JGG.
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    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • 27 September 2006
    ...also argues that the political question doctrine renders the case nonjusticiable and requires dismissal."); Nejad v. United States, 724 F.Supp. 753, 755 (C.D.Cal.1989). Notably, the United States has not chosen to intervene on behalf of Defendants in this In three of the district cases that......
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