In late July, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper awarded terrorism victims Ora Cohen, her ex-husband Shalom, their five children and four of Ora’s family members a total of $208.95 million from the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran). Ora, Shalom, and their children Meirav, Shira, Daniel, Orly and Elchanan, were victims of a 2003 suicide bombing while riding a bus in Jerusalem. Hamas (Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya or “the Islamic Resistance Movement”) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ora and her family were returning from a visit to the Western Wall, a holy site in Old Jerusalem, when the bombing occurred Aug. 19, 2003. More than 130 people were wounded and 23 were killed in the attack. The family was separated for days after the attack and Elchanan, the youngest child, was buried under bodies of other passengers for hours. He was not identified and returned to his family for a week. Members of the Cohen family experienced numerous injuries and bear persistent maladies, including shrapnel damage, anxiety and depression, loss of hearing and vision, fear of public transportation, and ongoing emotional trauma.
The Cohen family brought an action against Iran and two of its instrumentalities, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, under the state-sponsor-of-terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Iran’s support of Hamas was established through expert testimony in a March 2017 trial, which drew from annual reports from the U.S. Secretary of State to Congress on terrorism. David Dickens, Timothy Litzenburg and Michael Miller of The Miller Firm represented the plaintiffs.
After Judge Cooper entered a default judgment against Iran in March, he requested court-appointed Special Master Deborah Greenspan to give recommendations for damages. She suggested an enhancement approach to awarding damages, in which the family members’ baseline amount was “enhanced by a percentage defined by each awardee’s relationship to each of the victims of the attack and the extent of their injuries,” according to Law 360 (law360.com).
Ora Cohen received the highest amount of damages at $38.85 million. The judge’s decision explains:
“It is indisputable that Ora Cohen has been the lifeblood of the Cohen family for the past 13 years: she has shuttled her five children to appointments with doctors and therapists, has sat with them in hospitals, and has cared for them as they recovered from successive rounds of surgeries. She has labored almost singlehandedly, consistently placing her own recovery behind that of her children.”
The Miller Firm has a proven track record of winning substantial judgments from state sponsors of terrorism and will continue to seek justice for victims of international terrorism. The Firm is currently bringing cases against Saudi Arabia on behalf of victims of the September 11, 2011, bombings and is accepting clients who were injured or families who experienced terrible loss on 9/11. Call (800) 882-2525 and ask to speak to attorneys David Dickens, Timothy Litzenburg, Michael Miller or Nancy Miller or email the attorneys at [email protected] or [email protected]