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Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(k)(2) permits a federal court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant (1) for a claim arising under federal law, (2) where a summons has been served, (3) if the defendant is not subject to the jurisdiction of any single state court, (4) provided that the exercise of federal jurisdiction is consistent with the Constitution (and laws) of the United States.
Plaintiffs were harmed in a truck bombing outside an American embassy in Kenya. They sued the terrorist and the terrorist organization for orchestrating the bombing and Afghanistan for providing logistical support. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims against Afghanistan for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and against the terrorist and the terrorist organization for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs appealed.
On appeal, the court held that the district court had personal jurisdiction over the terrorist and the terrorist organization under the ATCA because the claims arose under federal law, the summons was served by publication under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f), and there was a constitutionally sufficient relationship between them and the forum. There was no doubt that they engaged in unabashedly malignant actions directed at the United States, as they orchestrated the bombing not only to kill both American and Kenyan employees, but to cause pain and terror in the United States. However, the district court properly held that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Afghanistan because its activities did not fall within the commercial activity exception of the FSIA.