Estate of Opati, et al. v. Republic of Sudan, et al.

Al Qaeda

In 1998, Al Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing over 200 people and injuring thousands. In 2001 and the following years, various plaintiffs, including the Opati plaintiffs, sued Sudan for materially supporting the bombings and arguing the bombings were "extrajudicial killings" under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Sudan denied the allegations. In 2009, Sudan stopped responding to or participating in the litigation. In 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued final judgments awarding more than $10.2 billion in damages against Sudan. Sudan appealed the cases. On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court vacated the punitive damages awarded.The Opati plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to clarify whether "the FSIA may be applied retroactively to impose punitive damages on a state sponsor of terrorism." On May 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that victims of al Qaeda's 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa were eligible for punitive damages from Sudan, which was found to have assisted the terror organization.