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The Ministry of Def. & Support for the Armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. Frym

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 26, 2016

THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND SUPPORT FOR THE ARMED FORCES OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, as Successor in Interest to the Ministry of War of the Government of Iran, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
RENAY FRYM; STUART E. HERSH; ABRAHAM MENDELSON; DANIEL J. MILLER; FRANCE MOKHATEB RAFII; ELENA ROZENMAN; NOAM ROZENMAN; TZVI ROZENMAN; DEBORAH RUBIN; JENNY RUBIN, Claimants-Appellees, and CUBIC DEFENSE SYSTEMS, INC., as Successor in Interest to Cubic International Sales Corporation, Respondent

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California February 2, 2016.

Page 1054

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. D.C. No. 3:98-CV-01165-B-DHB. Barry Ted Moskowitz, Chief District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Attachment of Judgments

The panel affirmed the district court's grant of lien claimants' motion to attach a judgment that the Ministry of Defense of Iran obtained in an underlying arbitration with an American company.

The lien claimants moved to attach the judgment, known as the " Cubic Judgment," in order to collect on judgments they hold against the Islamic Republic of Iran for their injuries arising out of terrorism sponsored by Iran.

The panel held that the Algiers Accords, by which the United States and Iran resolved the Iranian Hostage Crisis, did not prevent the lien claimants from attaching the Cubic Judgment. The panel also held that the Cubic Judgment was a blocked asset pursuant to President Obama's 2012 Executive Order No. 13359, subject to attachment and execution under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

Steven W. Kerekes (argued), Pasadena, California, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Jonathan R. Mook (argued), DimuroGinsberg, P.C., Alexandria, Virginia; Philip J. Hirschkop, Hirschkop & Associates, Lorton, Virginia, for Claimant-Appellee France M. Rafii.

David J. Strachman (argued), McIntyre Tate LLP, Providence, Rhode Island, for Claimants-Appellees Jenny Rubin, Deborah Rubin, Daniel Miller, Abraham Mendelson, Stuart E. Hersh, Renay Frym, Noam Rozenman, Elena Rozenman, and Tzvi Rozenman.

Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General; Laura E. Duffy, United States Attorney; Sharon Swingle and Benjamin M. Schultz (argued), Attorneys, Appellate Staff Civil Division, United States Department of Justice; Lisa. J. Grosh, Assistant Legal Advisor, Department of State; Bradley T. Smith, Chief Counsel, Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of the Treasury, Washington D.C, for Amicus Curiae United States.

Before: Dorothy W. Nelson, Consuelo M. Callahan, and N. Randy Smith, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1055

D.W. NELSON, Senior Circuit Judge:

This case involves an attempt by ten American citizens (hereinafter Lien Claimants) to collect on valid judgments they hold against the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) for their injuries arising out of terrorism sponsored by Iran. The Lien Claimants seek to attach a $2.8 million judgment[1] that the Ministry of Defense of Iran (the Ministry) obtained in an underlying arbitration with an American company, Cubic Defense Systems, Inc (Cubic).

The district court granted Lien Claimants' motion to attach the Cubic Judgment. The Ministry timely appealed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and we affirm.[2]

I. Background

Like all foreign states, Iran is protected by sovereign immunity. See Saudi Arabia v. Nelson, 507 U.S. 349, 355, 113 S.Ct. 1471, 123 L.Ed.2d 47 (1993) ( " A foreign state is presumptively immune from suit in United States' courts." ). Absent an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § § 1602-1611, a foreign state cannot be sued nor can its assets be attached to satisfy a judgment.[3]Saudi Arabia, 507 U.S. at ...


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