Jenny Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 08-2805 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, injured in a 1997 Jerusalem suicide bombing, obtained a $71 million default judgment against the Republic of Iran for its role in the attack. They registered the judgment in Illinois in order to attach antiquities on loan to a university and property owned by museums. The court held that Iran was required to appear to assert a defense under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1330(a). When Iran appeared, plaintiffs served discovery requests for the locations of all Iranian assets in the United States. The district court allowed the discovery. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The orders were subject to immediate appeal because of possible intrusion on sovereign immunity. The Act provides that property of a foreign state shall be immune from attachment unless an enumerated exception applies. The district court did not address the exceptions, but issued a blanket order that was contrary to the presumption of immunity. That there has been a determination of liability does not nullify the protections of the Act with respect to execution. Based on the presumption of immunity, Iran was not required to appear to assert the defense in the first place. The court noted provisions of the Act, under which federal agencies may assist plaintiffs in collecting judgments against foreign states.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 1, 2011.