UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
December 31, 2009
COURTNEY LINDE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
ARAB BANK, PLC, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VIKTOR V. Pohorelsky United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND ALL RELATED CASES*fn1
The plaintiffs have requested a ruling concerning the defendant's objection to producing Abdel Hamid Shoman, Arab Bank's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, for a deposition. Having reviewed the submissions and other arguments concerning the issue, the court concludes that the deposition should proceed. A central issue for resolution in this litigation, which concerns thousands of plaintiffs who claim to have been injured as a result of terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada in Israel and the Palestinian territories, is the extent of the Bank's knowledge of any financial assistance it may have rendered to those responsible for conducting the attacks. Given the positions held by Mr. Shoman both at Arab Bank and at Arab National Bank at various times during which critical events underlying the plaintiffs' claims occurred, he is in a rather unique position to have information that bears on the extent of the defendant's knowledge of any such financial assistance. One particularly significant area of inquiry concerns the relationships between and among the Saudi Committee, alleged to be a principal vehicle for funneling assistance to terrorists, the Arab National Bank, which served as the banker for the Saudi Committee, and Arab Bank, which acted on the instructions of the Arab National Bank in distributing funds in the Palestinian territories. Other areas identified by the plaintiffs, although perhaps not as compelling, are also at least reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence.
Although Mr. Shoman may have information relevant to this action, because there are others at the bank who have either already provided information about many of the areas of inquiry identified by the plaintiffs or are able to do so, limitations on the deposition are appropriate. Accordingly, the areas of inquiry are limited to those identified in the plaintiffs' October 23, 2009 letter to the court, and the time of the deposition is limited to five hours.