Steve Perles, founder and name partner of the Perles Law Firm, represented Hugo Princz in the first ultimately successful action by an American Holocaust survivor brought against Germany. The suit was brought for Princz’s detention in concentration camps, slave labor during the German war effort, and personal injuries suffered during that time period. The U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit reversed the lower court’s denial of the Federal Republic of Germany’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. However, Mr. Perles was able to agree to a settlement with the Federal Republic of Germany for Princz’s injuries. Moreover, the Honorable Judge Patricia Wald’s dissenting opinion created additional momentum that aided the enactment of 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7), the exception for subject matter jurisdiction over state-sponsors of terrorism. All in all, this was a huge victory for victims of state-sponsored acts of terrorism that has greatly impacted our more recent representative matters.
Princz v. Federal Republic of Germany, 26 F.3d 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1994)
Our firm successfully assisted in representing and defending the Republic of Turkey in a case that sought to remove the forum selection and choice of law provisions for a foreign defense procurement contract. The case was dismissed.
Pacific Consolidated Industries v. Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Turkey
In February 2003 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) tasked the Perles Law Firm with reviewing draft information technology laws that were being prepared for ratification by the Azerbaijani parliament. This work gave our firm an opportunity to witness and to contribute to the growth of a new economic sector that was taking place in Azerbaijan. The NICTS aimed to make information and communication technology advantages accessible to both governmental and nongovernmental institutions in Azerbaijan in order to assist in the country’s overall development.
Father Lawrence Jenco, an ordained priest in the Catholic church, was working in Beirut, Lebanon as the Director of Catholic Relief Services in early 1985. On the morning of January 8, 1985, Father Jenco was abducted by five armed men and was held hostage for the next 564 days. Our firm represented Father Jenco and his family, bringing action against the Islamic Republic of Iran for its responsibility in the kidnapping, detention and torture of Father Jenco. The Honorable Judge Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Iran liable in the action and ordered Iran to pay Plaintiffs over $300 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Jenco v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 154 F. Supp. 2d 27 (D.D.C. 2001)
The Perles Law Firm was counsel for Plaintiff/Respondent American Cetacean Society in the successful co-defense with the United States Department of Justice in an action challenging the Executive’s foreign affairs discretion to enter into certain agreements between the U.S. and Japanese governments. The Court held that the Secretary’s decision to secure the certainty of Japan’s future compliance with the IWC’s program was a reasonable construction of the Amendments. Congress had granted the Secretary the authority to determine whether a foreign nation’s whaling in excess of quotas diminished the effectiveness of the IWC, and the Court found no reason to impose a mandatory obligation upon the Secretary to certify that every quota violation necessarily failed that standard.
Japan Whaling Association v. American Cetacean Society, 478 U.S. 221 (1986)
Alisa Michelle Flatow participated in an independent foreign study program in Israel while she was a student at Brandeis University. On April 9, 1995, Alisa boarded Egged bus No. 36 to travel to a Mediterranean resort in the Gush Katif community. Tragically, Alisa never made it to the resort. A suicide bomber drove a van loaded with explosives into the bus, causing an explosion that resulted in the death of Alisa Flatow. The Perles Law Firm successfully represented the Flatow family in the first effective action against a foreign state under the terrorism exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The Honorable Judge Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Iran liable for providing material support to the terrorist organization responsible for Alisa’s death. Judge Lamberth ordered Iran to pay Plaintiffs nearly $300 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 999 F. Supp. 1 (D.D.C. 1998)
On February 25, 1996, Matthew Eisenfeld, a graduate of Yale University and then student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Israel, and Sarah Duker, a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia and then student at the Hebrew University of Jersusalem, boarded Egged bus No. 18 in Jerusalem. Shortly after boarding the bus, a member of Hamas detonated explosives which resulted in the deaths of both Matthew and Sarah. The Perles Law Firm represented both families in an action against the Islamic Republic of Iran for wrongful death, among other things. The Honorable Judge Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Iran liable for its material support of Hamas and ordered Iran to pay Plaintiffs over $300 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Eisenfeld v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 172 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2000)
Our firm conducted preliminary arbitration proceedings and settlement negotiations in Nigeria regarding a multi-forum contract dispute concerning leasing an offshore drilling platform.
Dixilyn Drilling v. Mobile Nigeria Producing, Ltd and the Nigerian National Petroleum Co.
Our firm helped successfully represent the Republic of Turkey by defending the country in a property action brought by Greek Cypriot-Americans. The Plaintiffs alleged that they owned property in Northern Cyprus. The Honorable Judge Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the Plaintiffs suit with prejudice because the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Crist v. Republic of Turkey, 995 F. Supp. 5 (D.D.C. 1998)
The Beirut Marine Barracks bombing of 1983 is was one of the deadliest attacks against the United States Marines in history. In 2007, the Honorable Judge Lamberth of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the victims and their family members, ordering Iran to pay nearly $2 billion in Iranian funds to compensate the victims. However, this was not the end of the road for the Peterson claimants. The Perles Law Firm successfully helped these claimants to obtain the funds that Iran had been unwilling to turnover. After several years of litigation against the Bank of Markazi (Iranian Central Bank) and other international banks that held the funds, the Peterson claimants had justice. On February 2013 Judge Katherine Forrest ordered these banks to turnover almost $2 billion in Iranian funds to the Iranian judgment creditors.
Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40470 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2013)
On October 15, 2003, a United States Department of State convoy traveled through the Gaza Strip to interview Palestinian Fulbright Scholarship applicants. As the convoy approached its destination, a roadside bomb exploded, killing Mark Parsons and two of his co-workers. Our very own Edward MacAllister successfully briefed and argued an appeal from the U.S. District Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit. The appeal dealt with the amount of evidence necessary to prevail against a motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision, and remanded it for further proceedings.
Estate of Parsons v. Palestinian Authority, 651 F.3d 118 (D.C. Cir. 2011)
The Islamic Republic of Iran has long supported terrorist organizations who have committed violent acts of terrorism against American citizens. One way Iran has aided these organizations is through financial support. Our firm was co-counsel for more than 150 plaintiffs in an ongoing action against a Jordanian bank for facilitating acts of international terrorism and materially supporting various terrorist groups involved in the Second Intifada. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted the Plaintiff’s motions for sanctions due to the Bank’s refusal to produce key pieces of evidence. This case is currently being litigated.
Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 269 F.R.D. 186 (E.D.N.Y. 2010)
Members of the Abu Nidal Organization attacked international flight terminals in Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport and Vienna’s Schwechat Airport, killing sixteen people and wounding over a hundred more. The Perles Law Firm successfully represented Peter Knowland who was one of those injured in the Vienna attack. The District Court for the District of Columbia granted the Syrian Arab Republic’s Motion to Dismiss. However, our firm effectively appealed his case up to the U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit, briefed and then argued the appeal. The appeal dealt with a convoluted question of statutory interpretation regarding whether or not Mr. Knowland had filed his lawsuit within the statute of limitations. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s decision, and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings.
Van Beneden v. Al-Sanusi, 709 F.3d 1165 (D.C. Cir. 2013)
The families of two American contractors beheaded by terrorists in Iraq sued the Syrian Arab Republic in federal court. Syria did not respond, and the district court eventually entered default judgment in favor of the contractors’ families. Subsequently, Syria finally appeared and filed a Rule 60(b) motion seeking to vacate the default judgment. Our firm successfully briefed and argued several issues that were taken up on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit. Those issues included the sufficiency of service when servicing the defendant foreign sovereign with a copy of the complaint and summons, the burden of proof in a Rule 60(b) context, and the trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, affirming the final judgment of $412,909,857.
Gates v. Syrian Arab Republic, 646 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2011)
Since 2008, we have continued to represent over a dozen claimants before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (“FCSC”) as their co-counsel. The FCSC is a quasi-independent judicial forum at the United States Department of Justice. Our firm has aided these claimants in obtaining compensation from a claims settlement fund established under the Libya Claims Resolution Act by submitting briefs to establish eligibility for compensation. Additionally, we argued appeals of initial denials, fighting to obtain what our clients rightfully deserve.
On November 23, 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 was hijacked by a group of Abu Nidal terrorists. During the course of this hijacking, the Boeing 737 was damaged beyond repair. The Perles Law Firm served as co-counsel for Certain Underwriters and Companies at Lloyd’s of London, the reinsurance companies that had reinsured the aircraft hull of the Boeing 737 which was all but destroyed during the brutal hijacking. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered Judgment on behalf of the Plaintiffs in the amount of $51.5 million.
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London v. Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 811 F. Supp. 2d 53 (D.D.C. 2011)
Served as co-counsel for American victims and their family members who were killed and injured in the vicious hijacking of EgyptAir Flight 648. Ten minutes after takeoff, three members of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization hijacked Flight 648. These terrorists forced the pilot of the large airliner to land the plane in Malta after an onboard scuffle and shootout caused the fuselage to be punctured. The Libyan agents then held the crew and passengers hostage. During this time, the terrorists began shooting passengers on board, one for every fifteen minutes their demands were not met. The terrorists started by shooting two Israeli women, and then shot three Americans, all of whom were thrown onto to the tarmac after being shot. The evidence showed that both Libya and Syria had been involved in the hijacking. The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs in the amount of $601,969,151.50. (nearly $602 mil?)
Baker v. Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahirya, 775 F. Supp. 2d 48 (D.D.C. 2011)
Al Qaeda spent many years in Sudan during the 1990’s expanding its organization and training its terrorists, all with the support and participation of the Sudanese government. Then, in 1998, two United States embassies were bombed in East Africa. Two simultaneous truck bomb explosions, one at the Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam (the largest city in Tanzania) and the other at the Embassy in Nairobi (the capital and largest city in Kenya), killed and injured hundreds of innocent people. The Perles Law Firm stepped up to the plate as lead trial counsel in the liability hearing, representing over 400 victims from the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, and their families. The Honorable Judge John D. Bates found the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Sudan liable for the embassy bombings. This case is still currently being litigated.
Amduso v. Republic of Sudan, 826 F. Supp. 2d 128 (D.D.C. 2011)