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Kaplan v. Cent. Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

August 20, 2013, Decided

Civil No. 10-483 (RCL)

Opinion

 [*188]  MEMORANDUM OPINION

This action arises out of a series of rocket attacks by Hezbollah on civilians in Israel during a 34-day conflict in 2006 along the border between Israel and Lebanon. Some plaintiffs allegedly suffered injuries in these attacks, others claim to be the family members or personal representatives of the estates of victims. Defendants Bank Saderat Iran ("BSI") and Bank Saderat, PLC ("BSPLC") allegedly transmitted funds from defendant Iran to Hezbollah. They moved to dismiss the action. Defs.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Aug. 23, 2010, ECF No. 15. For the reasons given below, the Court will GRANT the motion and dismiss all claims against these two defendants and the associated  [**4] John Does.1

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

1. The 2006 Conflict

Between July 12 and August 14, 2006, "Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets and missiles . . . at civilians in northern Israel." Compl. ¶ 56. Plaintiffs are American, Israeli, and Canadian civilians who allege that they suffered injuries caused by these rockets, or who allege that they are the family members or personal representatives of four Israeli civilians killed in these attacks. Id. ¶¶ 2, 4-11, 58-111.

In several public statements, Israeli leaders characterized these attacks as part of a "war" with Lebanon:

On July 12, 2006, describing actions carried out against Israeli Defense Forces on the Lebanese border, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel stated:

This morning's events were not a terrorist attack, but the action of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason and without provocation. The Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member, is trying to undermine regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and Lebanon will bear the consequences of its actions.

In response to the question—"is there cause to prepare  [**5] the nation for war and will you call for an emergency government?"—Prime Minister Olmert responded:

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961 F. Supp. 2d 185 *; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117528 **; 2013 WL 4427943

CHAIM KAPLAN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CENTRAL BANK OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, et al., Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part, Dismissed by, in part Kaplan v. Cent. Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 55 F. Supp. 3d 189, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99799 (D.D.C., July 23, 2014)

Related proceeding at Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51512 (S.D.N.Y., Apr. 14, 2015)

Magistrate's recommendation at Kaplan v. Hezbollah, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137793 (D.D.C., Apr. 12, 2016)

Related proceeding at Lelchook v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 224 F. Supp. 3d 108, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175842 (D. Mass., Dec. 20, 2016)

Affirmed in part and vacated in part by, Remanded by Kaplan v. Cent. Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 896 F.3d 501, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20214 (D.C. Cir., July 20, 2018)

Transferred by Kaplan v. Cent. Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81274 (D.D.C., May 14, 2019)

Prior History: Kaplan v. Hezbollah, 715 F. Supp. 2d 165, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56194 (D.D.C., June 7, 2010)

CORE TERMS

attacks, plaintiffs', armed conflict, military force, act of war, rocket, civilians, terrorism, allegations, military, killed, transfers, funds, territory, courts, targeted, qualify, act of state doctrine, political question, terrorist attack, terrorist, invoke, motion to dismiss, terrorist group, occurring, cases, extraterritorial, exemption, subject matter jurisdiction, international terrorism

Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, Governments, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Justiciability, Political Questions, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Political Questions, Case & Controversy Requirements, Constitutional Questions, Standing, Burdens of Proof, Elements, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Injury in Fact, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Torts, Causation, Proximate Cause, Foreign Affairs, International Law, Dispute Resolution, Act of State Doctrine, Removal, Specific Cases Removed, Actions Against Foreign States, Sovereign Immunity, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Construction & Interpretation, Individuals & Sovereign States, Human Rights, Terrorism, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Legislation, Interpretation, Business & Corporate Compliance, Conflict of Law, Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Statutory Sources, Inferences & Presumptions, Presumptions, Rebuttal of Presumptions, Authority to Regulate, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Pendent Claims