A federal judge in Brooklyn has upheld the bulk of last year's landmark liability verdict against Jordan's Arab Bank in a lawsuit brought by victims of Hamas terror attacks, and ruled that no appeal of his controversial rulings will be allowed until a trial to assess damages is complete.
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan did overturn the jury verdict on two out of 24 attacks at issue in the suit for lack of evidence of Hamas involvement, but said there was proof Hamas was behind the other incidents and that the bank was willfully blind to dealings that aided the group.
The verdict last September in favor of nearly 300 U.S. victims and relatives caught up in the Palestinian uprising from 2000 to 2004 was the largest to impose liability on a bank under a federal law that allows those injured by international terror to collect triple damages.
Cogan has scheduled a damages trial in July for a test group of plaintiffs in the case, including Gene and Lorraine Goldstein, formerly of Plainview, who were injured in a 2003 ambush on a road to Jerusalem.
Based on Cogan's rulings, the plaintiffs were not required to tie Arab Bank to any attack or even prove that attacks would have occurred "but for" the bank's actions -- only that banking services it provided in the Palestinian territories enhanced Hamas' capacity to carry out attacks.
Arab Bank asked the judge to overturn the verdict or authorize a quick appeal, contending that those loose standards of causation and other pro-plaintiff rulings -- such as telling jurors they could find knowing support for terrorism because the bank refused to turn over secret account records -- turned it into a "show trial."
But Cogan, in his 94-page ruling Wednesday, said all of his rulings were right, and the bank could wait until completion of the first damages trial to seek relief from the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.