S.2040 - Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act | Manuel A. Gómez | September 30, 2016

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S.2040 - Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

[Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2040 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

        S.2040

                     One Hundred Fourteenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
           the fourth day of January, two thousand and sixteen


                                 An Act


 
To deter terrorism, provide justice for victims, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the ``Justice Against Sponsors of 
Terrorism Act''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
        (1) International terrorism is a serious and deadly problem 
    that threatens the vital interests of the United States.
        (2) International terrorism affects the interstate and foreign 
    commerce of the United States by harming international trade and 
    market stability, and limiting international travel by United 
    States citizens as well as foreign visitors to the United States.
        (3) Some foreign terrorist organizations, acting through 
    affiliated groups or individuals, raise significant funds outside 
    of the United States for conduct directed and targeted at the 
    United States.
        (4) It is necessary to recognize the substantive causes of 
    action for aiding and abetting and conspiracy liability under 
    chapter 113B of title 18, United States Code.
        (5) The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the 
    District of Columbia in Halberstam v. Welch, 705 F.2d 472 (D.C. 
    Cir. 1983), which has been widely recognized as the leading case 
    regarding Federal civil aiding and abetting and conspiracy 
    liability, including by the Supreme Court of the United States, 
    provides the proper legal framework for how such liability should 
    function in the context of chapter 113B of title 18, United States 
    Code.
        (6) Persons, entities, or countries that knowingly or 
    recklessly contribute material support or resources, directly or 
    indirectly, to persons or organizations that pose a significant 
    risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the security of 
    nationals of the United States or the national security, foreign 
    policy, or economy of the United States, necessarily direct their 
    conduct at the United States, and should reasonably anticipate 
    being brought to court in the United States to answer for such 
    activities.
        (7) The United States has a vital interest in providing persons 
    and entities injured as a result of terrorist attacks committed 
    within the United States with full access to the court system in 
    order to pursue civil claims against persons, entities, or 
    countries that have knowingly or recklessly provided material 
    support or resources, directly or indirectly, to the persons or 
    organizations responsible for their injuries.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to provide civil litigants 
with the broadest possible basis, consistent with the Constitution of 
the United States, to seek relief against persons, entities, and 
foreign countries, wherever acting and wherever they may be found, that 
have provided material support, directly or indirectly, to foreign 
organizations or persons that engage in terrorist activities against 
the United States.
SEC. 3. RESPONSIBILITY OF FOREIGN STATES FOR INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM 
AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.
    (a) In General.--Chapter 97 of title 28, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting after section 1605A the following:
``Sec. 1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international 
     terrorism against the United States
    ``(a) Definition.--In this section, the term `international 
terrorism'--
        ``(1) has the meaning given the term in section 2331 of title 
    18, United States Code; and
        ``(2) does not include any act of war (as defined in that 
    section).
    ``(b) Responsibility of Foreign States.--A foreign state shall not 
be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in 
any case in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for 
physical injury to person or property or death occurring in the United 
States and caused by--
        ``(1) an act of international terrorism in the United States; 
    and
        ``(2) a tortious act or acts of the foreign state, or of any 
    official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting 
    within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency, 
    regardless where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state 
    occurred.
    ``(c) Claims by Nationals of the United States.--Notwithstanding 
section 2337(2) of title 18, a national of the United States may bring 
a claim against a foreign state in accordance with section 2333 of that 
title if the foreign state would not be immune under subsection (b).
    ``(d) Rule of Construction.--A foreign state shall not be subject 
to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under subsection 
(b) on the basis of an omission or a tortious act or acts that 
constitute mere negligence.''.
    (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
        (1) The table of sections for chapter 97 of title 28, United 
    States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to 
    section 1605A the following:

``1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international terrorism 
          against the United States.''.

        (2) Subsection 1605(g)(1)(A) of title 28, United States Code, 
    is amended by inserting ``or section 1605B'' after ``but for 
    section 1605A''.
SEC. 4. AIDING AND ABETTING LIABILITY FOR CIVIL ACTIONS REGARDING 
TERRORIST ACTS.
    (a) In General.--Section 2333 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(d) Liability.--
        ``(1) Definition.--In this subsection, the term `person' has 
    the meaning given the term in section 1 of title 1.
        ``(2) Liability.--In an action under subsection (a) for an 
    injury arising from an act of international terrorism committed, 
    planned, or authorized by an organization that had been designated 
    as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the 
    Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as of the date on 
    which such act of international terrorism was committed, planned, 
    or authorized, liability may be asserted as to any person who aids 
    and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who 
    conspires with the person who committed such an act of 
    international terrorism.''.
    (b) Effect on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.--Nothing in the 
amendment made by this section affects immunity of a foreign state, as 
that term is defined in section 1603 of title 28, United States Code, 
from jurisdiction under other law.
SEC. 5. STAY OF ACTIONS PENDING STATE NEGOTIATIONS.
    (a) Exclusive Jurisdiction.--The courts of the United States shall 
have exclusive jurisdiction in any action in which a foreign state is 
subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under 
section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) 
of this Act.
    (b) Intervention.--The Attorney General may intervene in any action 
in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of 
the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, 
as added by section 3(a) of this Act, for the purpose of seeking a stay 
of the civil action, in whole or in part.
    (c) Stay.--
        (1) In general.--A court of the United States may stay a 
    proceeding against a foreign state if the Secretary of State 
    certifies that the United States is engaged in good faith 
    discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the 
    resolution of the claims against the foreign state, or any other 
    parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.
        (2) Duration.--
            (A) In general.--A stay under this section may be granted 
        for not more than 180 days.
            (B) Extension.--
                (i) In general.--The Attorney General may petition the 
            court for an extension of the stay for additional 180-day 
            periods.
                (ii) Recertification.--A court shall grant an extension 
            under clause (i) if the Secretary of State recertifies that 
            the United States remains engaged in good faith discussions 
            with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution 
            of the claims against the foreign state, or any other 
            parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.
SEC. 6. SEVERABILITY.
    If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, or 
the application of a provision or amendment to any person or 
circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the 
amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions and 
amendments to any other person not similarly situated or to other 
circumstances, shall not be affected by the holding.
SEC. 7. EFFECTIVE DATE.
    The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any civil action--
        (1) pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of enactment 
    of this Act; and
        (2) arising out of an injury to a person, property, or business 
    on or after September 11, 2001.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.

 

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September 30, 2016

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Manuel A. Gómez

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