Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the USS Cole bombing. And while the government has abandoned plans to prosecute those responsible for the attack (and their sponsors), attorney Andrew C. Hall of Miami firm Hall Lamb & Hall, P.A. continues his fight in federal court to hold the Republic of Sudan accountable for its role helping Al Qaeda carry out the terrorist act. Earlier this year, Hall recovered more than $13 MILLION in frozen Sudanese assets against the Republic of Sudan for the families of the 17 sailors who were killed, and he continues to fight on appeal to get even more money to the victims’ families. Just last week, he also filed another lawsuit on behalf of 5 sailors who were injured in the attack and says that by end of day today, when the statute of limitations expires, he will likely have filed suits on behalf of others injured. In fact, as one of the few terrorism litigators in the country, Hall has sued a number of state-sponsors of terrorism including Libya, Sudan, and Iraq. In the 90s, he lobbied for the amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) which now provides recourse for victims to sue countries listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. In 2002, Hall lobbied Congress again for the passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which eliminated the President’s veto power to block victims from collecting foreign assets. Here is a great Daily Business Review story detailing Hall’s ongoing fight for the rights of terrorism victims – and what’s next for the families and sailors who were affected by one of the worst terrorist attacks on the United States.
Attorney seeks award for injured sailors
by John Pacenti
Three years after getting a multimillion-dollar award on behalf of the families of sailors killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, Miami attorney Andrew Hall has filed another federal lawsuit against Sudan on behalf of injured sailors. In the new lawsuit, Hall and Houston solo practitioners Nelson M. Jones III and James Cooper Hill represent 10 sailors injured when al Qaeda suicide bombers on a motorboat packed with explosives slammed into the guided-missile destroyer, killing 17 and injuring 39 on Oct. 12, 2000. The ship was refueling at the Yemeni port of Aden when attacked. The injury claims “all include physical damage,” said Hall of Hall Lamb and Hall. The sailors “were burned or injured by flying metal or debris, and most of them have significant PTSD,” or post-traumatic stress disorder. Hall expects no response will be filed in court by Sudan. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia just before the 10th anniversary of the attack to meet the statute of limitations. Sudan’s status as one of four countries on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism opens it to liability under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Hall said. He also has successfully sued Iraq and Libya on behalf of victims of terrorism. U.S. District Judge Robert Doumer in Richmond, Virginia, found the Sudanese government liable for the bombing in 2007, ruling the African country gave al Qaeda crucial support to carry out the attack. Doumer awarded the families of the blast victims nearly $8 million in economic damages, which ballooned to nearly $13.4 million with interest. The families have battled the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and a number of banks to garner Sudanese assets in the United States, Hall said. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood last year released $13.4 million in frozen Sudanese assets under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002. She ordered the money to be awarded to 33 spouses, parents and children. Hall is now seeking damages under an appellate ruling for relatives who suffered emotional but not direct economic damage. Hall said the lawyers didn’t want to include the injured sailors in the original lawsuit. “We didn’t want to start with sailors who were alive until we could deliver checks to families for the ones who had died,” he said.