January 4, 2022— The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the families of 395 Americans killed or injured by the terrorist group Jaysh al-Mahdi in Iraq.  In this U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) case against major pharmaceutical and medical-supply corporations, the federal appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ allegations stated a claim under the ATA.  The plaintiffs are more than 1,200 Americans, who were attacked or who had a family member attacked by the terrorist group Jaysh al-Mahdi. Among the plaintiffs are more than 180 families who lost a loved one.  The defendants are the parent companies and/or subsidiaries of AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Roche.  The plaintiffs allege that these companies bribed Iraqi terrorists to obtain contracts from Iraq’s terrorist-controlled Ministry of Health, knowingly financing terrorist attacks on Americans.

Kellogg Hansen is plaintiffs’ trial and appellate counsel, serving as lead counsel in the courtroom.  Partner Josh Branson argued the appeal for the plaintiffs and was joined on the brief by partners David Frederick and Andrew Goldsmith.  Partners Thomas Schultz and Matthew Duffy and associate Grace Knofczynski have also been instrumental in several stages of the litigation. 

The appeal received support from an impressive collection of amici, who were cited by the D.C. Circuit several times in the opinion.  A bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators, led by Senators Grassley and Blumenthal, submitted a brief explaining why Congress enacted the ATA and describing how Defendants’ arguments defied Congress’s intent.  A group of retired U.S. military commanders also submitted a brief detailing Hezbollah’s role in planning and authorizing Jaysh al-Mahdi’s attacks.  Other effective briefs were authored by Professor Steve Vladeck and other national-security law professors, a group of anti-corruption experts, and the American Association for Justice.

The lawsuit follows an extensive investigation by Kellogg Hansen and the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Sparacino PLLC.  Throughout the case, the Sparacino team has been Kellogg Hansen’s partner, serving as lead investigative counsel.

Case Caption:  Atchley v. AstraZeneca, No. 20-2077 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 4, 2022).