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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
September 21, 2021, Argued; January 4, 2022, Decided
PILLARD, Circuit Judge: The known terrorist group Jaysh al-Mahdi injured or killed hundreds of United States service members and civilians as part of its years-long campaign to harm Americans and drive the United States' military presence out of Iraq. Plaintiffs are [*3] victims of those attacks and the victims' family members. In the period leading up to and during the attacks on plaintiffs, Jaysh al-Mahdi openly controlled Iraq's Ministry of Health (Ministry) and used it as a vehicle for terrorist activity. "Due largely to its 2005-era control of the Ministry," plaintiffs contend, "Jaysh al-Mahdi became the deadliest terrorist group in the country. It massacred thousands of people, including Plaintiffs and their family members." Appellants Br. 2. Plaintiffs claim defendants, large medical supply and manufacturing companies, knowingly gave substantial support to the attacks against them in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA or Act), as amended by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), and state law. They allege that defendants, aware of Jaysh al-Mahdi's command of the Ministry, secured lucrative medical-supply contracts with the Ministry by giving corrupt payments and valuable gifts to Jaysh al-Mahdi.
Plaintiffs identify two ways in which they say defendants' dealings most vividly provided illegal support to the terrorist acts that harmed them. First, defendants used local agents to deliver cash kickbacks to the terrorists who [*4] gave them business. Second, defendants delivered extra, off-the-books batches of valuable medical goods that Jaysh al-Mahdi monetized on the black market to fund its operations, and also used as cash equivalents to pay terrorist fighters. Critically, on the facts plaintiffs allege, defendants undoubtedly had the degree of awareness that our precedent requires regarding the connection between their payments and gifts and the terrorist violence. Defendants' agents finalized contracts at in-person meetings at the Ministry, where Jaysh al-Mahdi weaponry, fighters, propaganda, and other indicia made clear who was in charge. And contemporaneous reports in mainstream media of the terrorists' control of the Ministry provided notice of the stakes of doing business with that entity. "Yet Defendants wanted to profit off the Ministry," plaintiffs assert, "and they were willing to pay terrorists for the opportunity." Appellants Br. 3.
The district court held that the complaint failed to state claims for either direct or secondary (aiding-and-abetting) liability under the ATA, and that it lacked personal jurisdiction over six foreign defendants.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 99 *; 22 F.4th 204
JOSHUA ATCHLEY, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. ASTRAZENECA UK LIMITED, ET AL., APPELLEES
Prior History: [*1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:17-cv-02136).
al-Mahdi, Ministry, defendants', terrorist, plaintiffs', manufacturers, allegations, supplier, attacks, bribes, international terrorism, personal jurisdiction, aiding-and-abetting, substantial assistance, forum contacts, contacts, terrorist organization, contracts, planned, drugs, designated, terrorism, district court, knowingly, corrupt, free goods, affiliated, fighters, funding, secondary liability
Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleading & Practice, Pleadings, Amendment of Pleadings, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Jurisdiction, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, International Law, Dispute Resolution, Remedies, Damages, Individuals & Sovereign States, Human Rights, Terrorism, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Exceptions, Immigration Law, Deportation & Removal, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, Miscellaneous Grounds, Torts, Multiple Defendants, Concerted Action, Civil Aiding & Abetting, National Security Risk, Terrorist Activities, Causation, Proximate Cause, Foreseeability of Harm, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Evidence, Weight & Sufficiency, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Finance, Elements, Intervening Causation, Business & Corporate Law, Agency Relationships, Establishment, Consent, Manifestation by Principal, Definitions, Fiduciaries, Formation, Right to Control by Principal, Constitutional Limits, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, In Personam Actions, Long Arm Jurisdiction, Due Process, Service of Process, Methods of Service, Foreign Service, Minimum Contacts, Doing Business, Federal Government, Domestic Security