A Washington, D.C., federal judge granted 80 victims of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut a $920 million judgment against Iran on Wednesday for its role in supporting the attack.
Having previously entered a default judgment against Iran in July 2016 after it failed to respond to the lawsuit, which accused the country of sponsoring Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that carried out the attack, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth awarded the 80 plaintiffs — either service members killed or injured in the terrorist attack, their estates or their family members — just over $920 million in total.
That total, variously covering wrongful death and emotional injury claims, includes roughly $207.2 million in compensatory damages and $712.8 million in punitive damages, with individual awards ranging from $1.15 million up to $17.2 million. While foreign nations are normally given sovereign immunity from U.S. lawsuits, the case fell under a terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
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Theodore Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement Thursday that "nothing will bring back the brave men and women lost in the 1983 bombing, but this judgement is a step towards bringing justice for the victims’ families and the soldiers who survived but carry the mental and physical scars into today."
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