Klieman Litigation

Estate of Esther Klieman v. Palestinian Authority et al., 04-cv-01173 (D.D.C., filed 13 Jul 2004)

Lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages by plaintiffs for the murder of a 23 year old woman who was on the way to work.  On 24 Mar 2002, terrorist operatives under the control of of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA), opened fire with Kalashnikov automatic rifle on an Egged bus near Neve Tzuf, Israel. The murder victim, Esther Klieman, a passenger on the reinforced bus, was struck in the heart and killed.  The case, commenced in 2004, is still being litigated on the issue of personal jurisdiction over the defendants.  The case has been up the U.S. Supreme Court and thence remanded for reconsideration of the jurisdictional issue in light of the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019.  Upon remand, the District Court has allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with jurisdictional discovery. Currently the parties are wrangling over disclosure issues.


  • Docket – District of Columbia, 04-cv-01173
  • Docket – District of Columbia, 18-cv-03013
  • Docket – Southern District of New York (Kesner case), 18-cv-12238
  • Docket – District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, 15-7034
  • Docket – Docket – U.S. Supreme Court, 19-741
2004

13 Jul 2004

Plaintiffs file Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

2006

30 Mar 2006

Court issues Opinion and Order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss (based on claims concerning sovereign immunity, non-justiciability, act of war, and international terrorism), and granting plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of sovereign immunity..

29 Dec 2006

Court issues Opinion and Order conditionally granting defendants’ motion to dismiss if plaintiffs did not effect proper service within 30 days.

2008

18 Apr 2008

Court issues Opinion and Order partially granting defendants’ motion to dismiss due to insufficient service, but only as to individual defendants.

24 Apr 2008

Court Issues Memorandum Opinion and Order denying defendants’ motion to reconsider the Court’s ruling on personal jurisdiction.

2015

3 Mar 2015

Following the Supreme Court holding in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), defendants again move for reconsideration on the ground of lack of personal jurisdiction.  In light of Daimler the Court issues an Opinion and Order granting defendants’ motion to reconsider the Court’s ruling on personal jurisdiction, and dismisses the lawsuit in it entirety.  Plaintiffs file notice appeal on 1 Apr 2015.

2018

3 Oct 2018

Enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-253).  The Act amended federal criminal law by, among other things, allowing federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over a foreign non-state defendant that accepts benefits from the United States (e.g., foreign assistance).  In response, the Palestinian Authority renounces all financial assistance from the United States in order to avoid liability for US court decisions demanding millions in payment for terrorist attacks.

21 Dec 2018

Plaintiffs commence a related proceeding, Estate of Esther Klieman, et al. v. Palestinian Authority, et al, (18 cv 03013, D.D.C.), filing their complaint on 21 Dec 2021.  The action has been stayed by court order.

27 Dec 2018

Plaintiffs commence an additional related proceeding in New York, Kesner, et al. v. Palestinian Authority, et al, (18 cv 12238, S.D.N.Y.), filing their complaint on 27 Dec 2021.  The action has also been stayed by court order.

2019

14 May 2019

Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirms the ruling of the District Court, finding a lack of personal jurisdiction over defendants.

20 Dec 2019

Enactment of the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019 (§ 903 of P.L. 116-94). This law expanded federal court jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in civil claims by Americans injured or killed by international acts of terrorism that were sponsored by the PA or the PLO.  As stated by co-sponsors of the law in their amici brief in the parallel Sokolow case, it was enacted in direct response to court rulings—including the one by the court of appeals in the Klieman case.

2020

18 Aug 2020

The Court of Appeals, following instructions from the Supreme Court, issues a Mandate remanding the case to the District Court for further proceedings in light of the Promoting Security and Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act of 2019.

2 Dec 2020

District Court issues Memorandum Opinion and Order granting plaintiffs’ request to proceed with jurisdictional discovery.