Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Org., No. 15-3135 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Eleven American families filed suit against the PLO and the PA under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 18 U.S.C. 2333(a), for various terror attacks in Israel that killed or wounded plaintiffs or their families. A jury awarded plaintiffs damages of $218.5 million, an amount that was trebled automatically pursuant to the ATA, 18 U.S.C. 2333(a), bringing the total award to $655.5 million. Both parties appealed. The court concluded that the minimum contacts and fairness analysis is the same under the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment in civil cases. On the merits, the court concluded that, pursuant to the Supreme Court's recent decision in Daimler, the district court could not properly exercise general personal jurisdiction over defendants. The court also concluded that, because the terror attacks in Israel at issue here were not expressly aimed at the United States and because the deaths and injuries suffered by the American plaintiffs in these attacks were “random [and] fortuitous” and because lobbying activities regarding American policy toward Israel are insufficiently “suit-related conduct” to support specific jurisdiction, the court lacks specific jurisdiction over these defendants. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for the district court with instructions to dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction. The court did not consider defendants' other arguments on appeal or plaintiffs' cross-appeal, all of which are now moot.