“We are pleased that Judge Gershon has dismissed the aiding and abetting claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and suggested she was inclined to dismiss all of the claims filed under the Alien Tort Statute which represent more than 90% of the claims against the Bank. However, we disagree with the Court’s ruling to allow the remaining claims under the ATA to move to trial because this decision conflicts with a series of recent Second Circuit Appellate and District Court orders dismissing cases against Arab Bank and other banks based on plaintiffs’ failure to meet the requirements of the ATA.
“Today’s decision is only a preliminary ruling allowing the case to proceed to trial by a jury and the Bank remains confident that the extensive evidentiary record will demonstrate at trial that the transactions at issue were routine and lawful, and the Bank did not knowingly or proximately cause the acts of terrorism at issue in these cases.”
Last November Federal District Court Senior Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled in favor of the Bank’s summary judgment motion and dismissed the Mati Gill v. Arab Bank case in its entirety. The Gill decision marked the first time in which a court had weighed the totality of the evidence in an Arab Bank lawsuit and reached a final decision. Notably, the Court wrote that “Hamas is not the defendant; the Bank is. And the evidence does not prove that the Bank acted with an improper state of mind or proximately caused plaintiff’s injury.”
In addition to the Gill decision, there have been several other recent rulings in U.S. federal courts that relate to the Arab Bank litigation in New York. Indeed, a second federal district court judge and two Second Circuit Court of Appeals panels have ruled in the last six months that the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) requires proof of knowledge and proximate cause – standards of proof plaintiffs suing Arab Bank cannot meet. While today’s decision interpreted the law differently, there is a growing body of case law that are favorable to the Bank including John Patrick O’Neill, Jr., et al. v. Al Rajhi Bank, et al. Rothstein v. UBS, Weiss v. National Westminster Bank.