Maalouf v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 18-7052 (D.C. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In this consolidated opinion, the DC Circuit addressed cases arising from the Beirut, Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam terrorist attacks. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's dismissals of their claims against Iran, contending that the district courts erred in raising the statute of limitations sua sponte and in dismissing their complaints as untimely. One group of plaintiffs challenged the denial of motions for relief from judgment that they filed after their claims were dismissed.
The DC Circuit did not reach the statute of limitations issue or the postjudgment motions. Rather, the court held that the district court lacks authority to sua sponte raise a forfeited statute of limitations defense in a Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) terrorism exception case, at least where the defendant sovereign fails to appear. Accordingly, the court reversed the district courts' judgments, vacated the dismissals of the complaint, and remanded for further proceedings.