Cicippio-Puleo v. Islamic Republic of Iran
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
353 F.3d 1024 (2004)
The Federal Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) gave foreign sovereigns general immunity from suit in the United States. As part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Congress passed the terrorism exception, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7). The terrorism exception waived the immunity of a foreign state or its agents for certain acts of terrorism in specific circumstances. The terrorism exception did not explicitly create a cause of action and did not impose any liabilities for damages. Congress later passed the Flatow Amendment, 28 U.S.C. § 1605 note. The Flatow Amendment created a private right of action against officials, agents, or employees of a foreign state for the acts identified in the terrorism exception, and it imposed liability on those individuals. Joseph Cicippio was taken hostage for several years by the Hezbollah, an Islamic terrorist group that was materially supported by the Republic of Iran (Iran) (defendant). A group of Cicippio’s children and siblings (the Cicippio relatives) (plaintiffs) sued Iran in federal court for intentional infliction of emotional distress and also sought solatium damages. Iran failed to respond, and the Cicippio relatives filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court found that, pursuant to the FSIA, there was no federal subject-matter jurisdiction over the case. The Cicippio relatives appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Edwards, J.)
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