Without financing or other material support, the architects of terrorism have little to no means of turning violent intentions into actions. This was the passionate belief of our firm’s co-founder, Ron Motley, and it’s a cause we continue to believe in and fight for every day.
With the same passion he instilled into the landmark litigation against Big Tobacco in the late 1990s and the battle he started with the asbestos industry for sick workers, in the wake of 9/11, Ron Motley was asked by 9/11 survivors and families of those killed to seek to hold those behind the attacks accountable. Ron answered that call.
In the consolidated lawsuit In re September 11 Litigation, Motley Rice anti-terrorism lawyers represented and settled the claims of 56 of the 96 families who opted out of the original 9/11 VCF to pursue claims against aviation and security companies. In addition to providing answers, accountability and compensation to victims' families, the litigation helped provide public access to evidence in an archive of selected discovery materials gathered in the litigation.
In 2004, Motley Rice filed suit against Arab Bank, the Jordan-based bank found liable in September 2014 by a Brooklyn, N.Y. jury for financing terrorist activity—the first time a bank has gone to trial and been held liable for financing and material support of terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Our anti-terrorism lawyers put our resources to work in the effort to hold the offenders of justice accountable for their actions, and seek to stop terrorist activity by eliminating the means to fund it.
Our Approach to Terrorism Financing Cases
Working closely with victims and families of the 9/11 attacks, our attorneys use a number of innovative approaches to hold accountable those entities or persons who provide material support to acts of terrorism. These approaches are in part facilitated by the Anti-Terrorism Act, a law that assures the legal rights of victims to punish terrorists and their financial and material supporters through the U.S. civil justice system. The civil justice we pursue through these cases provides an important tool in the fight against international terrorism, complementing law enforcement, criminal cases and political efforts.
State Sponsors of Terrorism
The U.S. Department of State keeps a list of countries identified as having "repeatedly provided support for acts of terrorism." These currently include Iran, Sudan and Syria, with countries such as Iraq appearing and then disappearing from the list according to current politics.
By depriving terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, or ISIS of their lifeblood of funding, we can cripple their ability to train, recruit, supply and dispatch terrorist operatives.
This pioneering area of litigation ultimately aims to give the victims their day in court against the individuals and entities that provide material support to terrorism and hold them accountable.
In the very first case to bring a financial institution to trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act, our anti-terrorism team represents nearly 40 U.S. citizens injured in suicide bombings and other attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, as well as dozens of other American victims of terrorism on foreign soil and thousands of foreign plaintiffs pursuing claims against Arab Bank under the Alien Torts Statute. After more than a decade of fighting our way through the court system, this case was finally brought to trial in 2014 before an 11-member jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., which unanimously found Arab Bank liable for financing terrorist activity, including funneling financial support to top Hamas leaders and the families of suicide bombers.
As the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks touched the lives of all Americans, the Motley Rice anti-terrorism team has taken on groundbreaking legal actions on behalf of many the 9/11 survivors and families that lost loved ones on that tragic day. The 9/11 litigation is about the demand for answers, the pursuit of accountability and the desire for a legacy that will prevent such devastation in the future. Read more about our work on In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001; with 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism and the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
This civil litigation concerns the alleged role of Sri Lankan-born American citizen and founder of the hedge fund management firm Galleon Group, Rajakumara "Raj" Rajaratnam, and his father, J.M. Rajaratnam, in allegedly knowingly and purposefully providing millions of dollars and other material support to the known terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam.
Given the heightened risk of attack on western targets in terror-prone regions, western-branded hotels worldwide often fail to take proper security measures to protect its clients following bombing attacks. Motley Rice litigates cases regarding negligent security and premise liability for U.S. citizens harmed in foreign territories on properties owned by U.S.-based entities.
Litigation Against Libya/Qadhafi
Libya was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a State sponsor of terrorism until 2006 for its many acts of international terrorism. In 1988, Libyan government officials ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 innocent people from all over the world. Our anti-terrorism team continues to represent people injured or killed by terrorist attacks in suits against Libya. Motley Rice has litigated cases involving Libya's support of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), the bombing of Berlin's La Belle Discotheque, and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
For more than a decade our attorneys have worked to dedicate the resources and gather the information needed in the ongoing litigation against the financiers of terrorism. We believe that the innocent victims of terrorist attacks and their families should be afforded every right to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. As our anti-terrorism attorneys work to expand on this emerging area of litigation, we will continue to use our experience and resources to bring terrorists and those who support them to justice.