In the News

Iranian Government Ordered to Pay $920 Million to 1983 Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing Victims and Their Families

March 2, 2018


“Judgment is among the largest ever issued against a foreign state under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, a leading national plaintiffs’ law firm, has obtained a judgment of $920 million against the Iranian government on behalf of more than 80 family members of soldiers who were killed or injured in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, as well as soldiers who were injured in the attack themselves.  The Beirut Marine Barracks bombing, which killed 241 American servicemembers and injured numerous others, was the deadliest state-sponsored terrorist attack against United States citizens before September 11, 2001.

“Nothing will bring back the brave men and women lost in the 1983 bombing, but this judgment is a step towards bringing justice for the victims’ families and the soldiers who survived but carry the mental and physical scars into today,” said Theodore J. Leopold partner and chair of the Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death, Managed Care Abuse, and Unsafe & Defective Products practices and co-chair of the Consumer Protection practice at Cohen Milstein.

Cohen Milstein filed the lawsuit in 2014 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the victims were due compensation under the exception in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that allows citizens to sue foreign countries if they are victims of state-sponsored terror. Cohen Milstein argued that the attack was carried out by the terrorist organization Hezbollah at the direction and with the support of Iran. 

To date, Iran has not participated in the lawsuit, making the ruling a default judgment. However, under the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, the plaintiffs can receive compensatory damages. The lawsuit is one of several against Iran for participating in state-sponsored terrorism.

“Our clients have endured extreme mental anguish, physical pain, and suffered emotional injury because of Iran’s actions,” said Robert A. Braun, an attorney at Cohen Milstein. “We are dedicated to delivering the full punitive damages to them and also to contributing to the wave of lawsuits against Iran to hold it accountable for sponsoring these acts of terror.

“This judgment delivers a measure of long-deserved justice to our clients,” said R. Paul Hart, an attorney at Karsman McKenzie & Hart and co-counsel on the case. “We are grateful that the Court recognizes that Iran must be held accountable for the obscene act it perpetrated in 1983. These judgments operate to punish and deter terrorist activities. Although there is still much work to be done to compensate our clients, this judgment is a necessary milestone in the process.  We eagerly move to the challenging next stage of identifying and securing Iranian assets to satisfy these judgments.”

About Cohen Milstein

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is recognized as one of the premier law firms in the country handling major, complex plaintiff-side litigation. With more than 90 attorneys, Cohen Milstein has offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Philadelphia, Pa., and Raleigh, N.C. For additional information, visit or call 877 515-7955.