US appeals court rules terror victim's brother can collect Iran lawsuit judgment Michael Sung at 12:12 PM ET
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] 2-1 Wednesday that the brother of dissident Cyrus Elahi, assassinated in Paris in 1990, can collect on a default judgment he holds against Iran by attaching a $2.8 million judgment obtained by the Iranian Ministry of Defense against California-based Cubic Defense Systems [corporate website]. Dariush Elahi was awarded $11.7 million in compensatory and $300 million in punitive damages after Iran refused to respond to his 2000 lawsuit brought in a Washington federal court, alleging that the Iranian government was responsible for his brother's death. Iran originally won the $2.8 million judgment against Cubic before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) [official website] for Cubic's contract breach following the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 [Wikipedia backgrounder].
Both the United States and Iran, currently resolving similar disputes at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal [official website] in The Hague, argued in court that Elahi had relinquished his claim to the remainder of his judgment after collecting $2.3 million from the US government pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 [PDF text]. Iran also argued that its judgment was immune from attachment under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) [text], but the court rejected that argument because Cubic was an agency of a commercial nature. David Bederman, an attorney representing Iran in this case, has indicated that Iran will seek an en banc hearing to challenge the decision. AP has more.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.