Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Secures $193 Million in Compensatory Damages for Plaintiffs in Fritz v. Islamic Republic of Iran

Blank Rome Partner Deborah Greenspan—as a court-appointed Special Master—submitted a detailed analysis and report to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that resulted in a judgment of $193 million in compensatory damages to the estates and family members of four U.S. service-members kidnapped and murdered in Iraq against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The court also entered an award of $55.9 million in punitive damages. 

Deborah was appointed as Special Master by U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss in August of this year to determine the appropriate amount of compensatory damages to be awarded to 25 plaintiffs in connection with the kidnappings, torture, and murders of U.S. service-members Jacob Fritz, Johnathan Bryan Chism, and Shawn Falter near Karbala, Iraq, on January 20, 2007, and the kidnapping of U.S. service-member Ahmed Al-Taie in Baghdad, Iraq, on October 23, 2006, and his subsequent torture and murder. The plaintiffs filed suit against Iran under the state sponsor of terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act 28 U.S.C. § 1605A(1)(a).

In less than two weeks, Deborah prepared a 56-page Report and Recommendation of Special Master Regarding Compensatory Damages (“Report”)—with assistance from Rick Brooks, Ethan Simon, Alexander Berman, and Luke Cooper—that presented factual findings and recommendations on the appropriate amount of compensatory damages to be awarded each plaintiff, and addressed legal issues on the propriety and calculation of pain and suffering damages for the estates of the four service-members; economic loss; solatium damages for each of the 21 family members, including the propriety of such damages for step-parents and step-siblings; and pre-judgment interest. With minor modifications, Judge Moss adopted the damages recommendations in the Report, which the court described as a “thorough and thoughtful analysis” that was “completed on an expedited schedule.” See Fritz v. Islamic Republic of Iran, __ F. Supp. 3d __, 2018 WL 3978096 (D.D.C. Aug. 8, 2018).