Federal Appeals Court overturns Saudi immunity, allows lawsuits against Kingdom to proceed

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday overturned a 2005 Federal Court decision that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was immune from civil lawsuits arising from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, allowing the 9/11 families and insurance companies to resume their lawsuit against the Kingdom.

The KSA, various Saudi royals, and the Saudi High Commission, a government-established “charity,” were dismissed as defendants in 2005 by U.S. District Judge Richard Conway Casey, who said the government’s support for Islamist “charities” that supported al-Qaeda did not make it responsible for 9/11. The Obama Administration intervened in the case to support the Kingdom, filing a brief in 2009 arguing for sovereign immunity for the Kingdom. However, on Dec. 19, the Appeals Court , holding that “the circumstances of this case are ‘extraordinary,'” reversed the district court ruling, and sent the case back to the lower court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

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Finally! Extraordinary indeed.

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