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KILLEEN, Texas (March 29, 2023)— The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has awarded an $807 million judgment to direct victims and families of the USS Cole bombing—which was attacked while docked in Yemen in 2000—in a brazen act of state-sponsored terrorism facilitated by the nation of Iran.

In a plot directly supervised by Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda operatives attacked the Cole by sending a small speedboat to detonate a bomb near the vessel. Ultimately, the terrorist attack killed 17 American sailors and injured 42 other crew members.

The Carlson Law Firm, P.C., along with co-counsel Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and the Law Office of Dejon R. Lewis represented 25 sailors injured in the Cole bombing and 33 members of their immediate families. The Cole Plaintiffs filed suit against Iran under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1605A.  

On March 16, 2023, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras found that Iran offered material support and resources like large sums of money, travel assistance, and training to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Accordingly, Iran facilitated the planning and execution of the USS Cole attack and is liable for the Cole Plaintiffs’ damages under the FSIA.

“Since the attack, many of our clients have dealt with debilitating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.,” Carlson Law Firm’s Managing Partner Craig Carlson said. “Even decades later, their PTSD causes nightmares, substance abuse, and significant anxiety—particularly when attending events involving loud noises. The family members have also suffered as they have lived with the emotional toll the Cole attack has taken on their loved ones.”

The $807 million judgment breaks down as follows: 

  • Directly injured plaintiffs were awarded $128.75 million in pain and suffering damages.
  • Families were awarded $74 million in solatium damages.
  • Plaintiffs were awarded a total of $605.25 million in punitive damages. 

“This has been a long and complicated process for these families, and our fight for Cole families is not done,” Carlson said. “Our clients have been patient while we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that no stones were left unturned in our pursuit of the just resolution they deserve. Because of the heinous act of state-sponsored terrorism, they’ve lost close friends, the ability to enjoy life, and much more than most of us can ever imagine. We continue to advocate for the veteran community in cases like Camp Lejeune and 3M earplugs. We hope that this $807 million judgment shows our country’s veterans and their families that no matter who they’re up against, we are a law firm with the resources, determination and knowledge to seek justice on their behalf.”

About The Carlson Law Firm

In addition to assisting with State-Sponsored Terrorism claims The Carlson Law Firm is a Veteran Owned & Operated law firm that represents thousands of Veterans in several other legal matters that have affected active duty and retired military:

  • Camp Lejeune
  • PFAS water contamination claims
  • Defective Military Earplugs lawsuits against 3M
  • Recover GI Bill losses from for-profit colleges like DeVry and the University of Phoenix

Our attorneys are committed to serving you. 

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