By Lic. Edward V. Byrne View Edward V. Byrne's profile
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2003, a group of insurance companies which had been required to satisfy
property and casualty claims arising out of the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks filed a civil indemnification action in a New York
federal court against al-Qaida. The shadowy
international organization of course never responded to the lawsuit, and
a default judgment was entered against it in 2006.
months a damage hearing was held on the claim, and today a magistrate
recommended that judgment be entered against al-Qaida for $9.3 billion USD. The magistrate found the actual damages to be $3.1 billion, but at the plaintiffs' request he tripled
them, as allowed by federal law. The magistrate's ruling now goes to a
U.S. district judge, who likely will approve it as a matter of course.
assets traceable to al-Qaida are discovered, the judgment will be worth
no more than the paper on which it's printed. But civil judgments in
the United States never expire, provided they are periodically renewed.