United States District Court, S.D. New York
September 13, 2005.
LESLYE KNOX, individually, as personal representative of the Estate of Aharon Ellis and as natural guardian of plaintiffs Jordan Terrell Ellis, Reuven Carter, Shanon Carter, Shayrah Carter, Yoshavyah Carter and Amitai Carter, JORDAN TERRELL ELLIS, minor, REUVEN CARTER, minor, SHANON CARTER, minor, SHAYRAH CARTER, minor, AMITAI CARTER, minor, by their next friend and guardian Leslye Knox, PRINCE SHALEAK, MELLONEE ELLIS, FRANCINE ELLIS, LYNNE ELLIS, YIHONADAV ELLIS, TSAPHRIRAH ELLIS and ARON CARTER, Plaintiffs,
THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION, THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (aka "The Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority" and/or "The Palestinian Council" and/or "The Palestinian National Authority"), YASSER ARAFAT, MARWAN BARGHOUTI, NASSER AWIS, ZIAD MUHAMMAD DAAS, ESTATE OF ABDEL SALAM SADEK HASSUNA, deceased and JOHN DOES 1-99, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge
CORRECTED DECISION AND ORDER
The Decision and Order the Court issued in this matter on
September 7, 2005 is corrected to delete the reference on page 3
thereof to the death of "Leslye Knox" and substitute as the name
of the decedent "Aharon Ellis". In all other respects, the
Decision and Order remains unchanged, as reflected in the
corrected version of it attached hereto and made a part hereof. SO ORDERED. DECISION AND ORDER
By Order dated July 15, 2005 (the "July 15 Order"), the Court
directed defendants in this action, Palestine Liberation
Organization and Palestinian Authority (collectively,
"Defendants"),*fn1 to file an answer to the complaint herein
by not later than August 15, 2005, and granted plaintiffs ("Plaintiffs") leave to file for entry of judgment by default in
the event Defendants failed to answer within the time specified.
Defendants responded by letter to the Court dated August 15, 2005
stating that they "have instructed counsel to present only their
position that U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over them and not
to answer on the merits. Therefore no answer on the merits of the
complaint will be filed." Now pending before the Court, in
response to defendants' failure to answer or otherwise endeavor
to comply with the Court's July 25 Order, is Plaintiffs' motion
for default judgment.
As Defendants have notified the Court of their intention not to
answer Plaintiffs' complaint, the Court authorizes the Clerk of
Court, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), to record Defendants'
default and to enter judgment on liability in favor of
Plaintiffs, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b).
In a prior ruling in this case, the Court determined that
sufficient basis existed for it to exercise subject matter
jurisdiction in this action. See Knox v. Palestine Liberation
Org., 306 F. Supp. 2d 424 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (rejecting Defendant's
jurisdictional challenge on grounds of sovereign immunity and
nonjusticiability); see also Ungar v. Palestinian
Authority, 325 F. Supp. 2d 15 (D.R.I. 2004), aff'd,
402 F.3d 274 (1st Cir. 2005); Biton v. Palestinian Interim
Self-Government Authority, 310 F. Supp. 2d 172 (D.D.C. 2004). Moreover, the
Court also previously found grounds for exercise of personal
jurisdiction over Defendants as appropriate sanctions for their
failure to comply with court orders regarding jurisdictional
discovery. See Knox v. Palestine Liberation Org.,
229 F.R.D. 65 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).
The Court has reviewed Plaintiffs' pleadings asserting,
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2333, a cause of action for terrorist
acts, and has considered these factual allegations conceded in
view of Defendants' default. On this basis, the Court finds
proper grounds to authorize entry of judgment establishing
Defendants' civil liability for the death of Aharon Ellis by
reason of acts of terrorism sufficiently attributed to Defendants
or their authorized agents. See Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc.
v. E.L.U.L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992)
(stating that "a party's default is deemed to constitute a
concession of all well pleaded allegations of liability").
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that the Clerk of Court is directed to record the
default of Defendants Palestinian Liberation Organization and
Palestinian Authority ("Defendants") in view of Defendants'
representation to the Court, by counsel's letter dated August 15,
2005, that they will not file an answer in this action as
directed by the Court's Order dated July 15, 2005; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of Court is authorized to enter
judgment by default against Defendants establishing their
liability to Plaintiffs pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2333 for the acts
asserted in the complaint herein; and it is
ORDERED that the parties appear before the designated
Magistrate Judge, in accordance with times, schedules and
submissions determined by the Magistrate Judge, for an inquest on
appropriate damages, which proceedings shall be conducted and a
determination therein submitted to the Court not later than
ninety (90) days of the date of this Order.
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