Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London,
et al. v. Great Socialist People's Libian Arab Jamahiriya, et
al., Civil Action No. 06-cv-731 (JMF) (D.D.C. 2011), are
two actions. The primary remaining defendants include Syria and
seek damages for acts of state-sponsored terrorism that resulted in
the hijacking of EgyptAir Flight 648 on Nov. 23, 1985. The aircraft
was destroyed, and the plaintiffs here, Lloyd's syndicates,
seek the value of the insurance claims paid (75.5% of the original
insurance policy based on a total recoverable loss of
The decision shows the operation of the new statute, 28 U.S.C.
sec. 1605A, which replaced old Section 1605(a)(7) (see our prior
here). The key aspect of this decision for international
practice purposes includes the creation of a federal cause of
action for state-sponsored terrorism, rather than the prior law,
which provided only a federal forum for state law claims. The Court
permitted a retroactive application of the new statute under the
"belts-and-suspenders" approach endorsed by Chif Judge
Lamberth in In re: Islamic Republic of Iran Terrorism
Litigation, 659 F.Supp. 2d 31 (D.D.C. 2009) (discussed here).
The Court also applied the law on what evidence must be shown to
secure a judgment in the face of the defendants' default
In this case the Magistrate Judge made the following findings
necessary for application of the new statute:
(i) that the hijacking . . . was an act of international
terrorism; (ii) that the terrorist shootings of the American
victims . . . were acts of international terrorism that occurred
during and as a result of the November 23, 1985 terrorist
hijacking; (iii) the hijacking resulted in the reasonably
foreseeable complete destruction of the aircraft owned by EgyptAir
and insured by plaintiffs; (iv) that said hijacking was committed
by terrorist operatives of the Abu Nidal Organization
("ANO"), which has been designated by the U.S. Department
of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; (v) that the ANO, at
the time of and prior to the EgyptAir hijacking, was sponsored and
supported by Syria, which has been designated by the U.S.
Department of State as a State Sponsor of Terrorism; and (vi) that
the Syrian Arab Republic, the Syrian Air Force Intelligence Agency,
Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-Jawiyya, and Syria's Director of
Military Intelligence, General Muhammad al-Khuli, conspired with
and provided substantial and material support to the ANO terrorist
organization, and that the Syrian defendants caused and are liable
for the acts of international terrorism against the plaintiffs and
the resultant damages.
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