Iran has been ordered to pay $879 million by a Washington, D.C. federal court after finding the Iranian defendants directed the 1996 terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where U.S. forces were housed, Associated Press reported.
“Justice has not forgotten these brave U.S. Air Force veterans and their families,” Lead attorney Adora Sauer, of MM~LAW LLC, said.
“It is an honor and privilege to fight for justice and compensation for these families. The passage of over two decades since the Khobar Towers attack has not thwarted our efforts. We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary.”
The plaintiffs, which include 14 injured U.S. Air Force members and 21 of their immediate family members, brought the lawsuit under the terrorism exception to the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
The defendants are the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hizbollah terrorists that detonated a 5,000-pound truck bomb at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran.
The blast killed 19 U.S. airmen and injured more than 400 others at the site charged with monitoring Iraqi compliance with United Nations security council resolutions.
U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering as well as prejudgment interest for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.
The plaintiffs will be eligible for partial payments from the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, the concept and legislation of which was originated by MM~LAW, to compensate American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons.
The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.
The families are represented by the law firms of MM~LAW LLC, of Chicago; The Urquhart Law Firm, PLLC, of Houston; the Law Offices of James R. Moriarty, of Houston; and Sullo & Sullo, LLP, of Houston; and The Miller Firm LLC, of Orange, Va.
“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that.” Plaintiff Glenn Tyler Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief severely injured in the bombing, said.
“It is certainly an honor to represent these veterans and their families in holding Iran accountable. The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides.” John Urquhart, of The Urquhart Law Firm, PLLC, said.
Mr. Urquhart, along Mr. James Moriarty and Gavriel Mairone, are combat veterans themselves. Mr. Urquhart served as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry platoon commander in Iraq before going to law school, while Mr. Moriarty served three tours in Vietnam and is a Gold Star father. The legal team represents victims of state-sponsored terrorism in other lawsuits as well, including more than 2,500 veterans injured in Iraq and U.S Gold Star families. The case is “Glenn Tyler Christie, et al., v. The Islamic Republic of Iran,” et al., Case No. 1:19-cv-01289-BAH, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.