U.S. Court dismissed case against PLO

Aug. 31, 2016

A U.S. appeals court has tossed out a $654 million jury verdict against the Palestine Liberation Organization that involved damages for Americans affected by the so-called “Palestinian terror attacks” — which the United States government says could financially destabilize the Palestinian government.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan threw out the case Wednesday. The court said the federal courts lack personal jurisdiction over the defendants.

A jury last year awarded $218 million to Americans affected by Palestinian “terror attacks that have killed Americans”. The award was automatically tripped under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

In court papers after the jury verdict, the U.S. government said that if the Palestinian Authority were to collapse, there would be a crisis impacting the security of Israelis and Palestinians and elsewhere in the region.

But the appeals court said neither the attacks nor the Palestinian groups had sufficient ties to the US for the defendants to be subject to federal court jurisdiction. It also found no evidence the attacks specifically targeted American citizens.

“The terror machine gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimized these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific,” Judge John Koeltl wrote for the appeals court.

“But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims.”