US Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)

S.2040, 114th Congress (2015-2016)

To deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, and for other
purposes. <<NOTE: Sep. 28, 2016 - [S. 2040]>>

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Justice Against
Sponsors of Terrorism Act.>>
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 18 USC 1 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism
Act''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 18 USC 2333 note.>> FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

(a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
(1) International terrorism is a serious and deadly problem
that threatens the vital interests of the United States.
(2) International terrorism affects the interstate and
foreign commerce of the United States by harming international
trade and market stability, and limiting international travel by
United States citizens as well as foreign visitors to the United
States.
(3) Some foreign terrorist organizations, acting through
affiliated groups or individuals, raise significant funds
outside of the United States for conduct directed and targeted
at the United States.
(4) It is necessary to recognize the substantive causes of
action for aiding and abetting and conspiracy liability under
chapter 113B of title 18, United States Code.
(5) The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia in Halberstam v. Welch, 705 F.2d 472
(D.C. Cir. 1983), which has been widely recognized as the
leading case regarding Federal civil aiding and abetting and
conspiracy liability, including by the Supreme Court of the
United States, provides the proper legal framework for how such
liability should function in the context of chapter 113B of
title 18, United States Code.
(6) Persons, entities, or countries that knowingly or
recklessly contribute material support or resources, directly or
indirectly, to persons or organizations that pose a significant
risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security
of nationals of the United States or the national security,
foreign policy, or economy of the United States, necessarily
direct their conduct at the United States, and should reasonably
anticipate being brought to court in the United States to answer
for such activities.
(7) The United States has a vital interest in providing
persons and entities injured as a result of terrorist attacks
committed within the United States with full access to the

[[Page 130 STAT. 853]]

court system in order to pursue civil claims against persons,
entities, or countries that have knowingly or recklessly
provided material support or resources, directly or indirectly,
to the persons or organizations responsible for their injuries.

(b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide civil litigants
with the broadest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution of
the United States, to seek relief against persons, entities, and foreign
countries, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, that have
provided material support, directly or indirectly, to foreign
organizations or persons that engage in terrorist activities against the
United States.
SEC. 3. RESPONSIBILITY OF FOREIGN STATES FOR INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

(a) In General.--Chapter 97 of title 28, United States Code, is
amended by inserting after section 1605A the following:
``Sec. 1605B. <<NOTE: 28 USC 1605B.>> Responsibility of foreign
states for international terrorism against the
United States

``(a) Definition.--In this section, the term `international
terrorism'--
``(1) has the meaning given the term in section 2331 of
title 18, United States Code; and
``(2) does not include any act of war (as defined in that
section).

``(b) Responsibility of Foreign States.--A foreign state shall not
be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in
any case in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for
physical injury to person or property or death occurring in the United
States and caused by--
``(1) an act of international terrorism in the United
States; and
``(2) a tortious act or acts of the foreign state, or of any
official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting
within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency,
regardless where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state
occurred.

``(c) Claims by Nationals of the United States.--Notwithstanding
section 2337(2) of title 18, a national of the United States may bring a
claim against a foreign state in accordance with section 2333 of that
title if the foreign state would not be immune under subsection (b).
``(d) Rule of Construction.--A foreign state shall not be subject to
the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under subsection (b)
on the basis of an omission or a tortious act or acts that constitute
mere negligence.''.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
(1) The table of sections for chapter 97 of title 28, United
States Code, is <<NOTE: 28 USC 1602 prec.>> amended by inserting
after the item relating to section 1605A the following:

``1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international terrorism
against the United States.''.

(2) Subsection 1605(g)(1)(A) of title 28, United States
Code, is amended by inserting ``or section 1605B'' after ``but
for section 1605A''.

[[Page 130 STAT. 854]]

SEC. 4. AIDING AND ABETTING LIABILITY FOR CIVIL ACTIONS REGARDING
TERRORIST ACTS.

(a) In General.--Section 2333 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended by adding at the end the following:
``(d) Liability.--
``(1) Definition.--In this subsection, the term `person' has
the meaning given the term in section 1 of title 1.
``(2) Liability.--In an action under subsection (a) for an
injury arising from an act of international terrorism committed,
planned, or authorized by an organization that had been
designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219
of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as of
the date on which such act of international terrorism was
committed, planned, or authorized, liability may be asserted as
to any person who aids and abets, by knowingly providing
substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who
committed such an act of international terrorism.''.

(b) <<NOTE: 18 USC 2333 note.>> Effect on Foreign Sovereign
Immunities Act.--Nothing in the amendment made by this section affects
immunity of a foreign state, as that term is defined in section 1603 of
title 28, United States Code, from jurisdiction under other law.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: Claims. Courts. 18 USC 1605B note.>> STAY OF
ACTIONS PENDING STATE NEGOTIATIONS.

(a) Exclusive Jurisdiction.--The courts of the United States shall
have exclusive jurisdiction in any action in which a foreign state is
subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under
section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a)
of this Act.
(b) Intervention.--The Attorney General may intervene in any action
in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of
the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code,
as added by section 3(a) of this Act, for the purpose of seeking a stay
of the civil action, in whole or in part.
(c) Stay.--
(1) <<NOTE: Certification.>> In general.--A court of the
United States may stay a proceeding against a foreign state if
the Secretary of State certifies that the United States is
engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state
defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the
foreign state, or any other parties as to whom a stay of claims
is sought.
(2) Duration.--
(A) In general.--A stay under this section may be
granted for not more than 180 days.
(B) Extension.--
(i) In general.--The Attorney General may
petition the court for an extension of the stay
for additional 180-day periods.
(ii) Recertification.--A court shall grant an
extension under clause (i) if the Secretary of
State recertifies that the United States remains
engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign
state defendant concerning the resolution of the
claims against the foreign state, or any other
parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.

[[Page 130 STAT. 855]]

SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 18 USC 2333 note.>> SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, or
the application of a provision or amendment to any person or
circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the
amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions and
amendments to any other person not similarly situated or to other
circumstances, shall not be affected by the holding.
SEC. 7. <<NOTE: Applicability. 18 USC 2333 note.>> EFFECTIVE
DATE.

The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any civil action--
(1) pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of
enactment of this Act; and
(2) arising out of an injury to a person, property, or
business on or after September 11, 2001.

Mac Thornberry

Speaker of the House of Representatives pro tempore.

John Cornyn

Acting President of the Senate pro tempore.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,

September 28, 2016.

The Senate having proceeded to reconsider the bill (S. 2040) entitled
``An Act to deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, and for other
purposes.'', returned by the President of the United States with his
objections, to the Senate, in which it originated, it was
Resolved, That the said bill pass, two-thirds of the Senators present
having voted in the affirmative.

Julie E. Adams
Secretary.

I certify that this Act originated in Senate.

Julie E. Adams
Secretary.

[[Page 130 STAT. 856]]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, U.S.

September 28, 2016.

The House of Representatives having proceeded to reconsider the bill
(S. 2040) entitled ``An Act to deter terrorism, provide justice for
victims, and for other purposes.'', returned by the President of the
United States with his objections, to the Senate, in which it
originated, and passed by the Senate on reconsideration of the same, it
was
Resolved, That the said bill do pass, two-thirds of the House of
Representatives agreeing to pass the same.

Karen L. Haas
Clerk.