Insurers Sue Terror Supporters for 9/11 Losses

September 10, 2003

Dozens of insurance companies, acting as members of five large insurance groups—Chubb, American Re, Zurich American, One Beacon and Crum & Forster—have filed a lawsuit in two cities against Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations to recover billions of dollars they have paid, or reserved for payment, for Sept. 11, 2001, losses.

The companies retained Cozen O’Connor to recover losses the insurers either already paid or reserved for payment of approximately $3.5 billion in property damages and $500 million in workers’ compensation benefits, as well as damages in 412 wrongful death and personal injury claims assigned to their companies. The case, Federal Insurance Company et al v. Al Qaida et al, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and a companion action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“In a sense, our clients are joining the global fight against terrorism, by filing law suits against the countries, private companies and public organizations, banks and financial service firms, and the individuals who were, in some substantial way, responsible for 9/11 and continue to conspire with and support al Qaida and international terrorist networks. As President Bush has stated, we must close down these terrorist operatives by attacking them from all angles, and especially the purse strings that finance their future. The government has frozen a tremendous amount of their assets and recognizes the importance of private legal actions to access those funds in repayment of our country’s losses,” said Stephen A. Cozen, Cozen O’Connor’s lead counsel in the lawsuits.

Co-counsel on the case, Elliott R. Feldman, who chairs Cozen O’Connor’s Subrogation and Recovery Department, added, “We will be working in tandem with attorneys who have filed wrongful death claims on behalf of their decedent clients to see that the 9/11 victims, including our clients and the families who have suffered personal losses and tragedies, are compensated from the terrorists’ assets for their victimization.”

The complaint alleges multiple statutory and common law causes of action, including civil RICO and claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. The demands are for multiple billions of dollars in judgment against the defendants, including compensatory and treble (triple) damages.

In addition to Cozen and Feldman, Cozen O’Connor’s team of attorneys also includes Sean P. Carter, John M. Popilock and Scott Tarbutton.

Many of the defendants have been designated as Foreign Terrorists Organizations (FTO) by the US Government under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Others are designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism pursuant to the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 Others are designated as supporters and associates of terrorists pursuant to Executive Order 13244, based on their material support and sponsorship of, or affiliation with, defendant al Qaida and/or affiliated FTOs, associations, organizations or persons.

The range of defendants includes: Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic, The Republic of the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Al Qaida leaders and individual supporters including Osama Bin Laden, Muhammad Atif (aka Subhi Sitta; aka Abu Hafs Al-Masri), etc., Foreign Terrorist Organizations, charitable organizations, banking and financial institutions, and other commercial entities and individuals that have provided material and financial support to al Qaida.

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