Willkie Wins $455 Million in Damages Against Iran for U.S. Victims of Terrorism

September 22, 2022

Willkie recently earned a major victory in litigation on behalf of American servicemembers and civilians killed or wounded in Iraq, securing $455 million in damages against Iran for its support of terrorism in that country.

On September 8, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui of the D.C. District Court issued a 41-page report and recommendation finding Iran liable for supporting the terrorists that injured or killed the plaintiffs and/or their family members in Iraq and awarding $455 million in damages to Willkie’s clients. If the recommendation is adopted by the district court, Willkie’s clients will be eligible to recover large portions of their damages awards from the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund (USVSSTF), among other means.

The matter, Neiberger et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 16-cv-2193, involves claims under the terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), alleging that Iran provided material support for acts of terrorism in Iraq that caused the deaths and injuries of 40 American servicemembers, civilians serving abroad, and their families.

This is the second recent victory for Willkie in its related lawsuits against terrorists and their financiers. In July, Willkie secured a significant win against Iran in its consolidated lawsuits Cabrera et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 19-3835, and Zambon et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No 18-2065, in the D.C. District Court, where Willkie represents hundreds of Gold Star families and veterans injured by Iran-supported terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Judge John D. Bates of the D.C. District Court issued a 126-page opinion finding Iran liable for materially supporting terrorist attacks that caused the injuries or deaths of American servicemembers and civilians in Afghanistan and awarding 23 plaintiffs damages amounting to between $1.5 million and $14 million each, with future proceedings yet to come on several hundred more plaintiffs who were injured in the same and different attacks.

In addition, Willkie represents a group of similar plaintiffs in an Anti-Terrorism Act lawsuit against eight multinational corporations that plaintiffs allege provided protection payments to terrorists that were conducting attacks against Americans in Afghanistan, captioned Cabrera et al. v. Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. et al., No. 19-3933, as well as over 600 plaintiffs in another case involving veterans and Gold Star families injured as a result of terrorist attacks in Iraq that were materially supported by Iran, captioned Martino et al. v. Iran, No. 21-01808.

Willkie has worked on these matters with co-counsel Sparacino PLLC; Burns Charest LLP; and Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick PLLC.

The Willkie team working on Neiberger is led by partners Michael Gottlieb and Nicholas Reddick and includes associates Samuel Hall, Kristin Bender, Devin Ringger, Anna Jugo and Timothy Ryan.