Many leading corporations and financial institutions – including among others energy companies, airlines, suppliers of chemicals allegedly used in weapons, agricultural concerns, social and news media, and financial institutions based in the US, Europe, Asia and Middle East – have been sued based on allegations that they provided goods or services that supposedly in some manner benefited terrorists. Such suits are brought under many legal theories, but chiefly under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Of late, these actions are on the rise.
Encouraging even more terrorism-related litigation, on September 28, 2016, Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”), making JASTA the law of the land in the United States. Most people understand JASTA as legislation that was designed to allow US victims of the 9/11 attacks to bring civil lawsuits against Saudi Arabia based on allegations that the Saudi government supported the 9/11 terrorists. But in fact, JASTA’s impact is broader. It expands the Anti-Terrorism Act by adding claims for aiding and abetting and conspiracy in certain circumstances.
In addition, there is discussion in Congress over whether JASTA is properly tailored to achieve its objectives without harming broader US interests.
On March 15, 2017, members of The National Foreign Trade Council and Mayer Brown LLP presented on the following topics:
- Which industries have been sued based on terror-related allegations, which are likely to be sued in the future, and why such suits are on the rise.
- The legal landscape under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
- The new conspiracy and aiding and abetting provisions in JASTA, and the risks the provisions pose for domestic and international corporations.
- Practical suggestions for minimizing those risks.
- Whether and how Congress and the Trump administration may modify JASTA.