“Absent the sponsorship of al-Qaida’s material sponsors and supporters, including the defendants named herein, al-Qaida would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks.”
“Lloyd’s sues Saudi Arabia, others to recover money paid in 9/11 claims,” by Brian Bowling for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 9:
Saudi Arabia and several Saudi organizations and banks should cover the $215 million a group of insurers paid out in claims related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a federal lawsuit the group filed on Thursday in Johnstown.
Lloyd’s Syndicate 3500, part of the company more commonly known as Lloyd’s of London, filed the lawsuit in Western Pennsylvania because United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County. The group of insurance underwriters also wanted the case heard in a court covered by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Stephen Cozen, a Philadelphia lawyer representing the underwriters.
They believe the Philadelphia-based circuit that hears appeals of Pennsylvania cases would be more sympathetic to the lawsuit than the 2nd Circuit, whose jurisdiction includes New York. The 2nd Circuit ruled in 2008 that Saudi Arabia was immune from a lawsuit brought against it by the families of the 9/11 victims in New York federal court.
Other circuits have ruled that American citizens can pursue terrorism-related claims against foreign governments, and the 3rd Circuit is likely to agree with their reasoning, Cozen said.
“U.S. citizens have the right to have their cases heard in U.S. courts,” he said.
The lawsuit claims Saudi Arabia and the organizations knowingly provided material support and resources to al-Qaida in the years preceding the 9/11 attacks.
The defendants include the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya, Saudi Red Crescent Society, the Saudi-based National Commerce Bank, Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Co. and three Saudi citizens connected to the organizations.
“Absent the sponsorship of al-Qaida’s material sponsors and supporters, including the defendants named herein, al-Qaida would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the September 11th attacks,” the lawsuit states.
A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington could not be reached for comment.
Cozen said the group filed the lawsuit yesterday — three days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks — because it had to wait until a lawsuit that 9/11 victims filed against the companies it insures was concluded. The New York judge in that case barred the insurers from adding terrorism groups and terrorist sponsors as third-party defendants who could have been held liable for paying claims to the people suing airlines and security companies, he said.
Those claims added up to more than $215 million, the attorney said.
“We now have the right to pursue the recovery of that money,” Cozen said. He said he is confident that his clients could collect damages from Saudi Arabia if they win the lawsuit.
Dan Gilbert, a Rockford, Ill., attorney whose practice includes terrorism lawsuits, said the Lloyd’s case faces a significant hurdle. A 1996 law allowing lawsuits against foreign countries that sponsor terrorism requires that the State Department list the country as a terrorism sponsor. The only four countries on the list are Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria….