Home > civil litigation, security & rule of law, U.S. courts > 1983 Beirut Bombing Victims Awarded $1 Billion in Punitive Damages

1983 Beirut Bombing Victims Awarded $1 Billion in Punitive Damages

On March 31, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia issued its final judgment in Valore v. Islamic Republic of Iran, awarding the survivors and victims’ estates over $1 billion in damages.  The plaintiffs alleged tort liability under the amended the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and District of Colombia law for the deaths, injuries, and pain and suffering caused by the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marines barracks  by Hezbollah, which killed 241 members of the U.S. military and injured others.  Read Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s opinion here.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act was amended in 2008 to allow the recovery of punitive damages from States found liable.  This latest judgment follows Judge Lamberth’s previous judgments in various other suits related to the Beirut bombing, both before and after the 2008 changes to the FSIA.  Judge Lamberth awarded $1 billion in punitive damages and varying amounts in compensatory damages, stating that with the award (the largest in punitive damages thus far awarded in the Beirut bombing litigation), “the Court seeks to send the strongest possible message that Iran’s support of terrorism against citizens of the United States absolutely will not be tolerated by the courts of this nation”.

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