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Little Progress on Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)

In a previous post, we outlined some of the various civil suits initiated in U.S. courts against terrorist organizations as well as other entities that allegedly provided funding and support in relation to the 9/11 attacks on New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. While many of these suits are ultimately symbolic in nature, some could hold true promise of providing well-deserved compensation to the victims and their families. Unfortunately, several recent court rulings have served as setbacks for these claims.

Specifically, a recent ruling by the Second Circuit in a suit against various components of the Saudi government held that victims’ claims were barred by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and that no cause of action for “aiding and abetting” terrorism was available under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991.

In response to this ruling, Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressmen Peter King, both of New York, introduced the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) on September 23, 2013. The purpose of the bill was to abrogate and circumvent court decisions that limited the legal rights of 9/11 victims by amending the statutes those courts were interpreting. JASTA’s main purposes were to:

  • Add an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that would remove sovereign immunity from sponsors of terrorism on U.S. soil
  • Amend the Anti-Terrorism Act to give U.S. courts jurisdiction over foreign entities whose conduct contributes to terrorism on U.S. soil

Introduced in the House as HB 3143, the bill was first referred to the House Judiciary Committee which in turn referred it to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on January 9, 2014. While commentators believe the bill has a fair chance of ultimately being enacted, to date it remains in the subcommittee for consideration and debate.

As part of our overall commitment to assisting the victims of 9/11 and their families, our team at Barasch & McGarry closely monitors any court action or legislation relating to victims’ rights. If you have questions about your legal options as a 9/11 victim, please contact our attorneys today.

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  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

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Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

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A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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