April 27, 2016
Press Release – For Immediate Release
CLLA Referral Translates Into Big Win for CLLA Member and Victims’ Families
Wauconda, IL April 27, 2016 – The United States Supreme Court in a 6-2 ruling on April 20, 2016, upheld the rights of victims of terrorism and their families to collect nearly $2 billion dollars from the Republic of Iran in the case Peterson v. Markazi. The landmark decision is a win for the victims’ families and the CLLA Member attorney representing them.
In 2012, Congress passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. In 2013, the plaintiffs were successful in obtaining a United States District Court order requiring Citibank, N.A., Clearstream Banking SA and Banca UBAE SpA to turn over to the Plaintiffs approximately 2 billion in funds those banks held for the benefit of the Central Bank of Iran. Lead counsel for the Plaintiffs in the action was Liviu Vogel, of the law firm of Salon Marrow Dyckman Newman & Broudy LLP of New York City. The Plaintiffs were the families of the United Marines injured or killed in the 1983 terrorist bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Attorney Vogel was retained in 2008 after judgment had been obtained by the Plaintiffs and over the next 8 years he undertook the lead in seeking out avenues to attach, seize and collect the funds. The firm successfully obtained an order in 2013 directing the turnover of close to Two Billion Dollars in post judgment enforcement proceedings against the government of Iran and its central bank under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities act of 1976 and anti-terrorism statutes, including The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002. The order was affirmed by the Second Circuit of Appeal which was then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. This marks the largest successful enforcement of a judgment held by victims of terrorism against any foreign sovereign to date.
The matter was referred to Liviu Vogel based in part on his membership in the Commercial Law League of America. Vogel stated, “. . . my membership and active participation in the League was instrumental in having this matter referred to my firm through contacts [made] in the League.” The League congratulates Attorney Vogel, his firm and especially his clients on this ruling in bringing some relief to the victims.
The issue before the Supreme Court was whether Congress had exceeded its authority when it passed the 2012 law aimed at specifically securing restitution as outlined herein. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority stated, “Applying laws implementing Congress’ policy judgments, with fidelity to those judgments, is commonplace for the Judiciary.”
The case was argued before the Supreme Court in January prior to Justice Antonia Scalia’s passing. The Plaintiffs did not know whether the court would choose to render a decision or elect to hear the case again when a 9th Justice is appointed.
The two Justices who voted against affirmation of the lower court ruling were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor who questioned whether Congress had the right to interfere with the role of judiciary in passing the 2012 law when the case was still pending before the courts.