• Iran hit with judgment after failing to defend court claims
  • Claimants may use law allowing victims of terrorism to collect

Iran was ordered by a U.S. judge to pay more than $10.5 billion in damages to families of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and to a group of insurers.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York issued a default judgment Wednesday against Iran for $7.5 billion to the estates and families of people who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. It includes $2 million to each estate for the victims’ pain and suffering plus $6.88 million in punitive damages.

Daniels also awarded $3 billion to insurers including Chubb Ltd. that paid property damage, business interruption and other claims.

Earlier in the case, Daniels found that Iran had failed to defend claims that it aided the Sept. 11 hijackers and was therefore liable for damages tied to the attacks. Daniels’s ruling Wednesday adopts damages findings by a U.S. magistrate judge in December. While it is difficult to collect damages from an unwilling foreign nation, the plaintiffs may try to collect part of the judgments using a law that permits parties to tap terrorists’ assets frozen by the government.

The case is In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03-cv-09848, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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