STEARNS v. IRAN / KARCHER v. IRAN
Osen LLC (together with Turner & Associates, P.A.) represents more than 240 families of Americans who were victims of Iranian-supported terrorism in Iraq between 2004 and 2011 in lawsuits filed against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, more than 1,000 U.S. service members were killed or injured by Hezbollah-designed and Iranian-manufactured Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) and Improvised Rocket-Assisted Munitions (IRAMs).
If you were injured, or your family member was killed, in Iraq between 2009 and 2011 by Iranian sponsored Shi’a “Special Groups” or Iranian-supplied munitions, you may be eligible to join the legal battle to hold Iran and its agents accountable. For more information, e-mail Osen LLC attorneys Dina Gielchinsky or Bill Friedman or call 1-201-265-6400.
The cases, captioned Karcher v. Iran and Stearns v. Iran, were filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. The Complaints allege that Iran has long used terrorist surrogates, including Foreign Terrorist Organization (Lebanese) Hezbollah, to target U.S. forces, diplomats, and facilities in Iraq. From 2004 to 2011, Hezbollah together with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”) led a network of Iraqi “Special Groups” – Jaysh al-Mahdi, the Badr Corps, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and the Promised Day Brigades - that engaged in targeted kidnappings, assassinations, and attacks (including EFP and IRAM attacks) on U.S. service members and civilians that killed hundreds of Americans and wounded many more.
The Complaints are brought under the Terrorism Exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which is the mechanism used to sue State Sponsors of Terrorism like Iran. To be eligible to bring a lawsuit against one of these countries, a plaintiff must be claiming money damages for personal injuries or death caused by (1) an act of torture, (2) extrajudicial killing (or attempted extrajudicial killing), (3) aircraft sabotage, (4) hostage taking, or (5) the provision of material support or resources for one of those four acts. Federal judges have consistently awarded monetary damages to terror victims under the FSIA’s Terrorism Exception for deaths and injuries caused by, for example, the Libyan bombing of an airliner over Scotland, Iranian kidnappings, and Iranian material support to Palestinian terrorist groups.
Unlike the majority of cases brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), defendants in FSIA cases rarely appear in court to contest the allegations brought against them. Although the plaintiffs are still required to present evidence and prove their case to a court’s satisfaction, obtaining a judgment against a State Sponsor of Terrorism is not as difficult as enforcing and collecting on it.
December 2018 Evidentiary Hearing
On December 3-6, 2018 our legal team presented its evidence to the Court in the Karcher case that between 2003-2011, Iran’s IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah organized, financed, trained, supported and directed its Special Groups proxies in Iraq to attack U.S. service members. The Plaintiffs also presented evidence that identified EFPs as signature Hezbollah-designed and Iranian-manufactured weapons and explained the particularly-deadly physical and psychological effects that these weapons cause.
Lastly, the Plaintiffs provided evidence and expert testimony demonstrating that Iran was responsible for the specific attacks at issue in the Karcher evidentiary hearing. Over the course of three days, the court heard testimony from a variety of experts and fact witnesses, including an internationally-recognized terrorism expert; decorated, retired high-ranking military officers who served in Iraq; an explosives expert; and select, renowned medical experts intimately familiar with EFPs and the signature injuries that they cause. In addition, certain injured Plaintiffs and a relative of a soldier killed in one of the attacks testified about the long-lasting and far-reaching effects of the attacks on their lives.
A decision by the court on whether Iran should be held liable under the Terrorism Exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) remains pending.
Justice for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism
(42 U.S.C. §10609)
The United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund (Fund) was created by legislation Congress passed in 2015 to provide compensation to a specific group of international terrorism victims harmed by state sponsored terrorism. The Fund is designed to compensate victims of international state sponsored terrorism who have secured final judgments in a United States district court against a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Once a claimant obtains a final judgment, they must file a claim within 90 days of obtaining that final judgment.
Because the Fund has limited resources and there are many terrorism victims harmed by state sponsored terrorism who have (or will obtain) final judgments against them, it is unlikely that any claimant will receive the full amount of their judgments, but the Fund offers the possibility of some compensation and is often worth pursuing.
If you or someone you know has been killed or injured in Iraq between 2009 and 2011 by an IED, and want to learn more about our lawsuits, you can contact Dina Gielchinsky or Bill Friedman to find out if you may qualify to participate in the Karcher or Stearns cases. Osen LLC carefully reviews each inquiry, recognizing that every terrorist attack is not legally traceable to Iran. Contacting our office places you under no obligation and does not create an attorney-client relationship.