The Firm’s clients are family members of an individual killed in 1989 by an act of Libyan state-sponsored terrorism. On September 19, 1989, Mihai Alimanestianu, a United States national, died when the plane in which he travelled was destroyed by Libya while it flew over Niger. In 2002, Mr. Alimanestianu’s family members won a U.S. judgment against Libya in excess of $1 billion. Subsequently, however, the U.S. government voided the judgment as part of an agreement with Libya to normalize relations.
The Firm brought an action because the U.S. government had “taken” the judgment and thus owed “just compensation.” Relying on recognized legal precedent, the Firm quoted Supreme Court Justice Powell that “[t]he Government must pay just compensation when it furthers the Nation’s foreign policy goals by using as bargaining chips claims lawfully held by a relatively few persons and subject to the jurisdiction of our courts.” Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654, 691 (1981). The Federal Court of Claims accepted the Firm’s argument that the lawsuit presented a legitimate claim and denied the government’s motion to dismiss. The case is proceeding.