Anti-Terror Litigation – United States

We are besieged, our lives are threatened, and the danger of our
destruction has not yet passed.
 Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, “Out of the Depths” (p. 247)



Background

Terror attacks target innocent civilians going about their everyday activities – visiting a holy site, attending a celebration, riding a bus to work, having lunch at a pizza parlor. 

One example, as told by Rabbi Lau (ibid, pp. 266-267):

In July 2001, almost one year after the Second Intifada began, at two in the afternoon, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded pizza restaurant, Sbarro, in the heart of Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, and about one hundred injured.  At nine that evening, the phone rang in my home in Tel Aviv, and the voice of a young woman, choked with tears, spoke on the other end of the line: “I’m calling from Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem. Do you remember Tzira Schijveschuurder? This is her sister speaking. Tzira was killed today at the Sbarro restaurant. Her husband, Moti, was also killed. It’s summer vacation, so they took a day off and went to Jerusalem with the kids. They went into Sbarro to have pizza for lunch. Three of the five children with them in the restaurant were killed: Ra’aya, Avraham Yitzhak, and Hemda. The youngest was two years old, the oldest fourteen. The three older boys were saved. Two were in the army, and the third was not with the family. The two little girls that survived, Leah-le and Chaya-le, are wounded and hospitalized.”

A comprehensive list of terror attacks in Israel from 1993 to the present is maintained at the Jewish Virtual Library. The lawsuits in the tables below account for only a small portion of those attacks, the families and victims who brought those lawsuits having sought some measure of justice. 

This database of lawsuits and litigation documents should be seen not just as a dry listing of cases, but as a memorial to those individuals who were murdered or maimed by acts of  hatred. The lawsuits were typically brought by family members of the terror victims, or the victims themselves. The documents record not only the legalities of each case, but contain the stories of the terror attacks.  


Private Litigation Involving Attacks Against American Citizens in Israel

I. Lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

In these cases in which the primary defendants are the Palestinian Authority (PA) or the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the plaintiffs have been largely stymied on jurisdictional grounds, though at least two were settled for undisclosed sums.  The U.S. Congress has passed legislation in an effort to ameliorate the situation with regard to jurisdiction, but it is not yet settled how the courts will treat that legislation. 

Significantly, in one of the cases against the PA – Sokolowthere was a full jury trial on the merits, the jury finding the PA and PLO responsible and awarding $218,000,000 in damages, trebled by the District Court.  Notwithstanding this historic verdict, the case may ultimately be dismissed because of the jurisdictional issues. 

Lead PlaintiffDescriptionStatusType of IncidentDocuments
Biton, AvigailWithdrawnBus Bombing
Fuld, MiriamDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction - Appealed
Stabbing at a Mall
Gilmore, ReuvenSummary Judgment
Dismissed
Shooting at Office Building
Jerusalem
Klieman, EstherPending After
Remand
Shooting Attack - Bus
Knox, LeslyeSettled After DefaultShooting Attack
Banquet Hall
Livnat, RivkaDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction
Machine-Gun Attack at
Holy Site
Parsons, MarkVoluntary DismissalRoadside Remote Bomb
Safra, YitzhakDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction
Machine-Gun Attack at
Holy Site
Saperstein, MosheDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction
Shooting Attack
Roadside
Shatsky, Shabtai IDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction
Suicide Bomber - Pizzeria
Shatsky, Shabtai IIDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction - Appealed
Suicide Bomber - Pizzeria
Sokolow, MarkDismissed - Lack of
Jurisdiction - Appealed
Suicide Bombings
Shooting Attacks
Ungar, YaronSettled After Default Shooting Attack
Roadside

II. Lawsuits against Iran, Syria, North Korea, etc.

In these cases, in which there were typically default judgments and the primary defendants were Iran and/or Syria, the default awards were granted after a fact-finding inquiry convinced the court that these defendants were implicated in the terror crimes. The multitude of litigation and complex efforts to collect on those default judgments are beyond the scope of this database.

Lead PlaintiffDescriptionStatusType of IncidentDocuments
Baxter, William Jack IDefault - Pending
on Damages
Several (10)
Baxter, William Jack IIDefault - Pending
on Damages
Several (10)
Beer, Harry IDefault
$13,000,000
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Beer, Harry IIPunitive Damages
$300,000,000
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Belkin, LawrenceDefault
$18,525,763
Suicide Bombing
Shopping Mall
Ben Haim, SethDefault
$16,000,000
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Bennett, MichaelDefault
$12,904,548
Bombing - University
Cafeteria
Bluth, NethanialDefault
$43,500,000
Shooting and Grenade
Attack - Classroom
Bodoff, Jeffrey IDefault
$316,988,300
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Bodoff, Jeffrey IIDefault
$316,988,300
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Boim, StanleyJury Trial
$156,000,000
Shooting Attack
Bus Stop
Borochov, EliDefault
$55,000,000
Several (3)
Botvin IPartial Default
$1,704,457
Suicide Bombing
Pedestrian Mall
Botvin IIDefault
$40,890,000
Suicide Bombing
Pedestrian Mall
Braun, ShmuelDefault
$178,500,000
Car Ramming
Train Station
Calderón-Cardona, RuthDefault
$378,000,000
Shooting and Grenade
Attack - Airport
Campuzano, DianaDefault
$153,463,608
Suicide Bombing
Pedestrian Mall
Cohen, IlanaDefault
$10,050,000
Shooting Attack - Bus
Cohen, OraDefault
$208.950,000
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Eisenfeld, LeonardDefault
$327.161,002
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Felber, NathanielDefault PendingShooting Attack
Flatow, Steven
Force, Stuart
Fraenkel, Abraham
Gill, Mati
Goldstein, Shalom
Greenbaum, StevenDefault
$19,879,023
Suicide Bombing
Pizzeria
Halperin, Shimshon
Henkin IDefault
Damages TBD
Shooting Attack
Henkin IIDefault
Damages TBD
Shooting Attack
Hirshfeld, Yonadav
Jakubowicz, AkivaPendingSeveral (5)
Kaplan, Chaim
Keren Kayemeth LeIsraelDismissed -
On Appeal
Support of Terror
Kirschenbaum, Jason
Leibovitch, Shlomo
Lelchook, Ester IDefault
$20,535,665
Rocket Attack
Levin, Jeremy
Levinson, Christine
Licci, Yaakov
Mark, Chava
Mark, Natanel
Roth, Arnold
Rothstein, Rachel
Rubin, JennyDefault
$259,000,000
Suicide Bombing
Pedestrian Mall
Salzman, Stan
Schwartz, Ruth
Shoham, Batsheva
Sisso, Avraham
Sotloff, Arthur
Spetner, Temima
Steinberg, Max
Stern, Shaul
Tamam, Zivie
Tratner, BaruchDefault - Pending
on Damages
Mortar Attack
Suicide Bombing - Bus
Ungar, Yaron
Wachsman, Esther
Weinstein, Susan
Weinstock, Sharon
Wultz, Sheryl

III. Lawsuits against Banks, etc.

Bank/Lead PlaintiffDescriptionStatusType of IncidentDocuments
Arab Bank
Afriat-Kurtzer, Gila
Almog, Oran
Bennett, Michael
Coulter, Robert, Sr.
Gill, Mati
Jesner, Joseph
Linde, CourtneyConfidential Settlement
Litle, Phillip
Pam, Nathan
Roth, Arnold
Weiss, Steward
Bank Saderat
Henkin III
Lelchook, Ester II
Cairo Amman Bank
Averbach, Julie
Central Bank of Iran
Kaplan, Chaim
Lelchook, Ester III
Commerzbank
Lelchook, Alexander
Credit Lyonnais
Strauss, Moses
Wolf, Bernice
Lebanese Canadian Bank
Kaplan, Chaim
Lelchook, Ester IV
Licci, Yaakov
National Westminster Bank
Applebaum, David
Weiss, Tzvi
Palestine Investment Bank
Spetner, Temima
Qatar National Bank
Force, Stuart II
Henkin IV
Societe Generale de Banque
Lelchook, Ester V
UBS AG
Goldberg, KarenSettled

U.S. Domestic Civil Cases & Criminal Terror Prosecutions

Terrorist criminal prosecutions and domestic civil cases in the U.S. typically do not have a connection to Israel. However, the extent of these cases demonstrates the pervasiveness of the problem.  The Investigative Project on Terrorism maintains an extensive database of terrorism prosecutions and civil cases in the U.S., including documents from those cases.