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Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

May 16, 2017, Argued; February 9, 2018, Decided

Nos. 16-2119-cv (L), 16-2098-cv (CON), 16-2134-cv (CON)


 [*317]  Reena Raggi, Circuit Judge:

The sixteen named plaintiffs on this consolidated appeal are victims, or the relatives of victims, of three terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel by Hamas between March 2002 and June 2003. Together with hundreds of other alleged victims and the surviving relatives of victims of alleged Hamas attacks, the named plaintiffs commenced actions in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New  [*318]  York to recover compensatory damages from Arab [**4]  Bank, PLC ("Arab Bank" or "bank") under that provision of the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 ("ATA") affording a civil remedy. See Pub. L. No. 101-519, § 132, 104 Stat. 2240 (1990) (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2333(a)). Plaintiffs charged the bank with facilitating the attacks at issue by knowingly providing financial services to Hamas, Hamas-controlled charities, and the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada Al-Quds ("Saudi Committee"), an entity that made payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers. Following trial, at which the jury found Arab Bank liable for injuries resulting from twenty-four terrorist attacks, including the three here at issue, the district court (Brian M. Cogan, Judge) substantially denied Arab Bank's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 50 and 59. See Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 97 F. Supp. 3d 287 (E.D.N.Y. 2015).3 Rather than proceed to a scheduled bellwether trial on damages, however, the parties stipulated to the entry of a total damages award of $100,000,000, which the district court certified as final pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). At the same time, the parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement providing for the bellwether plaintiffs to be paid various total monetary amounts depending on whether the certified judgment was affirmed, [**5]  reversed, or vacated on direct appeal. The parties agreed to forgo retrial in the event of vacatur and remand, as well as any further challenges to the judgment in any event.4

On this appeal, Arab Bank argues that it was wrongfully denied judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial because (1) the district court failed correctly to instruct the jury on the ATA's "act of international terrorism" element as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2331(1); (2) the bank was unfairly prejudiced by discovery sanctions that affected the presentation of evidence at trial; and (3) the trial evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to permit a jury finding that the bank's provision of financial services was either a proximate or but-for cause of the plaintiffs' injuries, the latter standard of which Arab Bank insists is in fact required to prove an ATA claim.

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882 F.3d 314 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3171 **; 2018 WL 797454

LINDE, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. ARAB BANK, PLC, Defendant-Appellant.1 

Prior History:  [**1] On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Defendant Arab Bank, PLC, appeals from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Cogan, J.), in the stipulated total amount of $100,000,000 following a jury verdict holding the bank liable under the Antiterrorism Act ("ATA"), see 18 U.S.C. § 2333, for injuries sustained by plaintiffs or their relatives during terrorist attacks in Israel conducted by Hamas. Arab Bank argues that (1) the jury was not properly instructed on the "international terrorism" element of an ATA claim, (2) the bank was prejudiced by unwarranted discovery sanctions affecting the presentation of evidence, and (3) the trial evidence was legally insufficient to prove causation. We agree that instructional error requires vacatur and remand. We are not persuaded to affirm by plaintiffs' argument that the error is rendered harmless by either the jury's finding of causation or Congress's post-trial enactment of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act ("JASTA"), Pub. L. No. 144-222, 130 Stat. 854 (Sept. 28, 2016) (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2333(d)(2)). Nor are we persuaded to reverse by Arab Bank's sufficiency challenge to proof of causation. A settlement agreement between [**2]  the parties forgoing retrial in the event of vacatur and remand makes it unnecessary for us to decide whether the bank's challenges to the causation charge or the district court's discovery sanctions also warrant vacatur and remand.

Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155567 (E.D.N.Y., May 24, 2016)

Disposition: VACATED and REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


international terrorism, causation, aiding and abetting, district court, parties, terrorist, financial services, intimidate, matter of law, plaintiffs', vacatur, settlement agreement, charging, proximate, violence, attacks, coerce, terrorist organization, instructional error, terrorism, civilian, harmless, damages, quotation, but-for, vacate, marks, apparent intent, human life, new trial

Criminal Law & Procedure, Terrorism, Support of Terrorist Organizations, Elements, International Law, Individuals & Sovereign States, Human Rights, Terrorism, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Judgments, Entry of Judgments, Multiple Claims & Parties, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Relief From Judgments, Motions for New Trials, Jury Trials, Jury Instructions, Objections, Harmless & Invited Errors, Harmless Error Rule, Torts, Multiple Defendants, Concerted Action, Civil Aiding & Abetting