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Arab Bank’s liability to terror attack victims in court’s hands

A landmark 2014 jury verdict holding Jordan’s Arab Bank liable to U.S. victims for Mideast terror attacks is heading for a test in the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a filing in Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday.

The first of its kind verdict found the bank liable for 24 attacks attributed to Hamas because the jury thought the bank was willfully blind to financial dealings that aided the terror group, but a secret settlement last year on damages delayed any appeal.

Instead of a global settlement resolving all claims without an appeal, the order posted by U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan indicated that the parties have agreed that Arab Bank can appeal and the settlement has established damage amounts that will depend on the outcome of the appeal.

The two sides, in a joint statement, said the appeals would determine the outcome for all 597 plaintiffs who have sued, not just those whose claims were determined in the 2014 trial. “A prompt appeal will avoid any unnecessary delay in the plaintiffs’ recovery and result in a definitive resolution,” the statement said.

To allow an appeal to go forward, Cogan’s order identified damages for plaintiffs in three attacks that he had scheduled as test cases on damages, including $13.5 million for Gene and Lorraine Goldstein of Plainview who were wounded during a 2003 attack in which their son was killed.

But the order indicated those amounts would likely change based on the outcome of the appeal. Some reports have pegged the settlement at potentially $1 billion, but the parties have said the numbers are confidential.

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