Victims Of September 11 Terrorist Attacks Ask High Court To Hear Their Case

Almost twelve years to the day after the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari was filed in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of victims of those attacks in the case of In Re Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2011, also known as John Patrick O'Neill, Jr., et al., Petitioners v. Al Rajhi Bank, et al, 13-318. Thousands of petitioners joined in this consolidated action and include family members of victims of the attacks, individuals injured during the attacks, and corporations that sustained economic losses due to the attacks on September 11, 2001.  Respondents are both organizations and individuals alleged to have been involved with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the years before the attacks took place.

The two main issues presented by the petition relate to the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 18 USCS § 2333, and the idea of personal jurisdiction. The petition alleges that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit erroneously ruled in 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7669 that the ATA does not provide for secondary liability and that it requires a showing of proximate cause regarding the terrorist attacks. The petition also alleges that the Second Circuit erred in ruling in 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7671 that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over many of the defendants.

Petitioners claim that the Second Circuit erred and that review is warranted because there was a conflict with rulings from other courts of appeal. Specifically, petitioners argue that the Second Circuit Court’s decision is in direct conflict with that of the case of Boim v. Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev., 549 F.3d 685 (7th Cir. Ill. 2008). Petitioners also note that the Second Circuit’s rulings directly conflict with Congress’ intent regarding the ATA and that Congress has rejected the idea of proximate cause in determining liability under the ATA. 

The response to the petition is due October 11, 2013. 

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