Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

The defendants-appellants-cross-appellees (“defendants”) appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Daniels, J.) in favor of the plaintiffs-appellees-cross-appellants (“plaintiffs”). A jury found the defendants---the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority---liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act (“ATA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2333(a), for various terror attacks in Israel that killed or wounded United States citizens. The jury awarded the 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. The defendants appeal, arguing that the district court lacked general and specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants, and, in the alternative, seek a new trial because the district court abused its discretion by allowing certain testimony by two expert witnesses. The plaintiffs cross-appeal, asking this Court to reinstate claims the district court dismissed.

We vacate the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to dismiss the action because the federal courts lack personal jurisdiction over the defendants with respect to the claims in this action. We do not reach the remaining issues.