The War Profiteers - War Crimes, Kidnappings & Torture

 

War Profiteers Main Index

Killing of Iraqi Civilians Index

Killings Database - Year 2007

 

 

The Killing of Genevia Antranick & Marani Manook

 

Background

Media Reports

Court Cases

Photo Credits

 

Background - Baghdad, October 9th, 2007

 

“[…] Two women died here on Tuesday when their white Oldsmobile was riddled by automatic gunfire from guards for a private security company, just weeks after a shooting by another company strained relations between the United States and Iraq. The guards involved in the Tuesday shooting were working for an Australian-run security company. […] In the Tuesday shooting, as many as 40 bullets struck the car, killing the driver and the woman in the front seat on the passenger side. A woman and a boy in the back seat survived, according to witnesses and local police officials in the Karada neighborhood, where the shooting took place on a boulevard lined with appliance stores, tea shops and money changers. […]”

Excerpt of a New York Times article from October 10th, 2007.

After the bloodbath

 

Video: The Killing of Mary Awanis - Australian television documentary from SBS Dateline

 

Media Reports

 

November 8th, 2007 - War-torn Families Cope, Hope

1 news article from Glendale News-Press

 

October 19th, 2007 - ‘My Sister Died in a Hail of Baghdad Bullets’

1 news article from Belfast Telegraph

 

October 17th, 2007 - A Death in Iraq, Grief in Glendale

1 news article from the Los Angeles Times

 

October 11th, 2007 - Daughters’ Anguish at Funeral of Mother Killed by Private Guards

3 news articles from the Times, CNN & Los Angeles Times

 

October 10th, 2007 - Iraqis Probe Killings of Women

4 news articles from the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times & the Australian

 

October 9th, 2007 - Security Guards Fire on Iraqi Car

1 news article from BBC News

 

A killing, a victim and a funeral

The bullet-ridden car

Marani Manook

Marani Manook’s daughters at the funeral

 

Court Cases

 

Civil Case I: Estate of Marani Awanis Manook vs. Unity Resources Group & RTI International

 

This case was brought by the “Estate of Marani Awanis Manook”. Ms. Manook was one of the two women, who were killed by employees of the “Unity Resources Group” (URG), which was providing “protective services” in Baghdad for the “Research Triangle Institute” (RTI). The case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on August 12th, 2010.

 

Civil Case II: Jalal Askander Antranick vs. Research Triangle Institute & Unity Resources Group, LLC

 

This case was brought by Jalal Antranick, the father of the second victim of the shooting, Genevia Antranick. “Mr. Antranick was born in Iraq, maintains his Iraqi citizenship, and is a U.S. permanent resident.” (Complaint, Antranick vs. RTI & URG). The case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on August 12th, 2010. Subsequently, a new complaint was filed at the Superior Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. on August 24th, 2010.

 

 

Civil Case I

 

Estate of Marani Awanis Manook vs. Unity Resources Group & RTI International

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Case-No.: 5:10-cv-00072-D

Transferred on February 26th, 2010

 

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Case-No.: 1:08-cv-00096-PLF

Filed on January 17th, 2008

 

August 12th, 2010 - Judgment & Order

 

“[…] Decision by the Court: It is ordered and adjudged that the court grants RTI’s and Unity’s motions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction […] and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims. The court also dismisses Unity’s motion for a protective order […] and all other pending motions […] as moot. […]”

 

April 14th, 2010 - Plaintiff Manook’s Memorandum in Opposition to the Motions to Dismiss

 

“[…] Defendant Unity’s and Defendant RTI’s motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction fail. Unity, acting as an agent of RTI, inflicted severe bodily injury and death upon Marani Awanis Manook (‘Manook’), a civilian, during the Iraq war in Iraq in October 2007. As explained above, this constitutes war crimes (Count I), civil conspiracy to commit war crimes (Count II), and aiding and abetting war crimes (Count III). This court properly exercises original federal subject matter jurisdiction over these allegations under the ATS, 28 U.S.C. § 1350. Because this court has original jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1350, it properly exercises supplemental jurisdiction over related common law claims against Defendant Unity and Defendant RTI under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff respectfully submits that this Court should deny Defendant Unity’s and Defendant RTI’s motions to dismiss and provide such further and just relief as the Court deems proper. […]”

 

March 24th, 2010 - Defendant Research Triangle Institute’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Defendant Research Triangle Institute (hereinafter ‘RTI’) moves the court, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(h)(3) and 12(g)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to dismiss Plaintiffs’ remaining claims for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. As held by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia prior to that court’s transfer of the matter to the Eastern District of North Carolina, Plaintiffs have failed to state federal claims, and there is not complete diversity among the parties. Thus, this case is now in federal court only upon the potential exercise of supplementary jurisdiction, which RTI respectfully urges is neither prudent nor necessary. Dismissal of Plaintiffs’ remaining claims is the most appropriate course. […]”

 

February 26th, 2010 - Memorandum Opinion & Order

 

“[…] Regarding Plaintiff Marani Manook’s case […], for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ordered that,

 

“1. Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint is denied in part and reserved in part.

 

“Specifically, (a) Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss for improper service of process is denied;

 

“(b) Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is reserved pending additional jurisdictional discovery;

 

“(c) The Parties shall have until March 26, 2010 to complete limited jurisdictional discovery as to Defendant Unity’s financial and business activities solely within the District. The Parties shall then submit simultaneous additional briefing regarding Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by April 16, 2010.

 

“2. Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint, or Alternatively, Motion for Definite Statement and to Transfer Any Remaining Claims is granted in part and denied in part. Specifically,

 

“(a) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Manook’s First Amended Complaint for failure to name an authorized representative is denied;

 

“(b) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Manook’s Counts I, II and III relating to the Alien Tort Statute is granted;

 

“(c) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Manook’s claims that it should not be liable for Defendant Unity’s actions is denied;

 

“(d) Defendant RTI’s Motion for a More Definite Statement on Counts IV-XVI of Plaintiff Manook’s First Amended Complaint is denied without prejudice;

 

“(e) Defendant RTI’s Motion for Transfer of Venue to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina is granted.

 

“3. All remaining claims contained in Defendants RTI and Unity’s Motions that are not discussed herein are denied.

 

“4. The Clerk of Court is directed to transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. […]”

 

April 28th, 2008 - Defendant RTI’s Reply Memorandum in Support of its Motion

 

“[…] Plaintiffs Memorandum in Opposition is remarkable more for what it fails to address than for what it actually says.

 

“As set forth in RTI's principal brief, a party may not bring an action merely in the name of the ‘Estate’ of a deceased person, but instead must bring an action on behalf of the real party in interest, i.e., the executor or heir consistent with the laws of the applicable jurisdiction. Plaintiffs complaint is nakedly, and improperly, brought only on behalf of the ‘Estate of Manook’ - failing to identify the real party in interest. Plaintiffs opposition memorandum does not contest, or otherwise respond to, this basic principle of law. Nor has Plaintiffs counsel complied with this Court's rules confirming that counsel acting on behalf of an estate must ‘file with the Register a copy of the appointment as personal representative and a copy of the decedent's will,’ arguing only that the governing statute does not apply. Plaintiffs position is belied by the language of the rule. For these reasons, the Amended Complaint should be dismissed in its entirety. […]”

 

April 18th, 2008 - Opposition to Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Ms. Manook, an unarmed and innocent civilian, was gunned down in broad daylight for no legitimate reason by a Unity mercenary under contract to RTI and under subcontract to the United States. This lawsuit seeks to hold RTI and Unity accountable for their reprehensible misconduct. Now, RTI has filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the action should be dismissed because (1) the Estate failed to allege capacity to sue and choice of law, and (2) war crimes cannot be committed by private parties. As explained below in Section I, the first argument fails because the Estate has the capacity to sue and it is premature to brief choice of law before discovery has been conducted. As explained below in Section II, although at first blush RTI has a strong argument based on two Court of Appeals’ precedents, those decisions were issued more than twenty years ago. Subsequent to their issuance, there has been Congressional action, as well as development in both federal and international jurisprudence, that undercuts their precedential value.

 

“RTI also argues that the suit should be transferred to their home district of North Carolina. As explained in Section III, RTI has failed to carry the heavy burden needed to transfer this action. […]”

 

April 10th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Opposition to URG’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] In its Motion to Dismiss, Unity portrays itself as a stranger to this District, a Singapore corporation with offices in Dubai. The reality is far different. Unity certainly can be haled before this District Court consistent with the teachings of Worldwide Volkswagon Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286 (1980) and its progeny. Unity, a defense contractor being paid by United States taxpayer dollars, has continuous and systemic contacts with this District. Indeed, undersigned counsel recently discovered that Unity maintains an office at 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C., staffed by at least one Unity employee named David Rolfes. Thus, defense counsels’ representations to this Court that Unity cannot be subject to jurisdiction here consistent with due process appear to be, at best, nothing more than hyperbolic argument not founded in facts. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Motion of Defendant URG to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] This action is brought in the name of the Estate of Marani Awanis Manook, although without identification of any particular representative alleged to have been authorized by any competent authority to act on this estate's behalf. The Complaint alleges that Plaintiffs decedent, a resident of Baghdad, died in Baghdad during an altercation on the streets of Baghdad on or about October 9, 2007 with certain employees of defendant Unity, which is alleged to have been providing security services to defendant RTI International, a company engaged by the United States Department of State to assist in rebuilding local communities in Iraq. […] Unity is a corporation organized under the laws of Singapore, with its principal ofices in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. […]

 

“This action was commenced on January 17, 2008, and on February 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed its First Amended Complaint. […] The Complaint asserts claims against Unity and RTI under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 […], as well as various common-law claims for assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, various forms of negligence, and various related counts alleging aiding and abetting and civil conspiracy […], all supposedly arising ftom the alleged incident that resulted in the decedent's death. The Complaint also alleges certain purported contacts between Unity and this District […], presumably in an attempt to establish a basis for asserting personal jurisdiction in this District over the defendant foreign corporation Unity for the foreign Plaintiffs claims arising fiom this alleged Baghdad incident.

 

“On March 4, 2008, Plaintiff filed a ‘Notice of Service’ purporting to show that service of process had been made upon Unity. This document asserted that Plaintiff had served process by having its counsel send a package of documents, including the summons, original complaint, and the Complaint, purportedly to Unity's offices in Dubai, by DHL and Federal Express. […]

 

“Unity now moves to dismiss this action as against it pursuant to Rules 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for insufficient service of process and lack of personal jurisdiction. […]”

 

March 28th, 2008 - Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Defendant RTI International (‘RTI’), by counsel, hereby moves this Court (1) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, to dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint in its entirety, with prejudice; (2) for a more definite statement with respect to counts IV-XVI; and (3) to transfer any remaining claims.

 

“As detailed in the accompanying Statement of Points and Authorities, RTI’s Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint should be granted because: (1) no one is authorized at this time, under the governing law of Iraq and the law of this judicial district, to assert claims on behalf of the Estate of Marani Awanis Manook, and thus all claims fail as a matter of law; (2) this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under the Alien Tort Statute (‘ATS’), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, over Counts I, II, and III because the ATS does not apply to alleged violations of the law of nations by corporations; and (3) Counts I, II, and III independently fail as a matter of law because Plaintiff fails to allege facts that, even if accepted as true, would be sufficient to state a claim of ‘war crimes.’

 

“To the extent this Court does not dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint in its entirety, RTI moves for a more definite statement with respect to Counts IV-XVI. RTI’s request for a more definite statement should be granted because Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint fails to identify the governing law and statutes under which Plaintiff seeks relief, thereby failing to set forth information necessary to allow Defendant to frame a response to Plaintiff’s allegations. Alternatively, or in addition, briefing on the parties’ proposed choice of substantive law with respect to Counts IV-XVI should be ordered for the same reasons.

 

“Finally, to the extent this Court does not dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint in its entirety, RTI moves to transfer any remaining claims to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. RTI’s motion to transfer should be granted because: (1) strong ties bind the instant dispute to North Carolina, while no meaningful ties connect the dispute to this judicial district; and (2) this case is in its initial stages, so there is no potential for delay if any remaining claims were transferred to North Carolina. […]”

 

February 11th, 2008 - First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] 2. Plaintiff is the Estate of Marani Awanis Manook. Ms. Manook was a resident of Baghdad until she was shot to death by Defendants on October 9, 2007. She was the mother of three daughters, now left orphans.

 

“3. Defendants were in Iraq pursuant to and under a contract with the United States Department of State.

 

“4. Defendant Unity Resources Group does business in the Americas (including the United States), the Middle East, Australia, Asia Pacific and Africa. Unity Resources Group has established employee Mike Fiacco […] as the company point of contact in the United States and this District.

 

“5. Unity Resources Group maintains a website in the United States and this District in order to obtain business. Unity Resources Group also directly and continuously solicits business from the United States government via a website service called ‘BuyUSA.gov.’

 

“6. Unity Resources Group maintains an office designated as “head office” in the First Gulf Bank Building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

“7. Reasonable discovery will establish that Unity Resources Group routinely solicits business in the United States and this District. Reasonable discovery will establish that Unity Resources Group entered into a contract with Defendant RTI International in this District.

 

“8. Defendant RTI International is an American not-for-profit entity that has offices at 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and One Metro Center, 701 13th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Reasonable discovery will establish that RTI International was formed pursuant to North Carolina law.

 

“9. Defendant Unity Resources Group works as an agent for RTI International in Iraq providing security services as needed. RTI International directly oversaw and supervised the work performed by Unity Resources Group in Iraq. Among other things, RTI International drafted the policies and procedures that controlled Unity Resources Group’s actions. […]

 

“[…] 12. On or about October 9, 2007, Defendants killed Marani Awanis Manook and Genevia Jalal Antranick on Karrada Street in Baghdad, Iraq.

 

“13. Ms. Manook was driving her car down Karrada Street when Unity Resources Group personnel opened fire on her vehicle, from over 90 meters away, spraying the car with at least 40 bullets, 17 of which hit Ms. Manook. Both Ms. Manook and Ms. Antranick, the passenger in the front seat, were killed in the hail of gunfire.

 

“14. Unity Resources Group began firing at Ms. Manook’s vehicle without any provocation. Neither Ms. Manook nor any of her passengers posed any threat to the Unity Resources personnel.

 

“15. The identities of the Unity Resources Group mercenaries who killed and injured civilians on or about October 9, 2007, are known to Defendants and able to be discovered in this litigation. […]”

 

January 17th, 2008 - Complaint

 

“[…] On October 9, 2007, heavily-armed Unity Resources Group mercenaries sent to Iraq by RTI International shot and killed for no reason two women, Marani Awanis Manook and Genevia Jalal Antranick. This senseless slaughter on October 9, 2007 was only the latest incident in a pattern of egregious misconduct, including killings and woundings by RTI’s agent, Unity Resources. This action seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the family of Marani Awanis Manook. […]”

 

Civil Case II

 

Jalal Askander Antranick vs. Research Triangle Institute & Unity Resources Group, LLC

Superior Court of the District of Columbia

Case-No.:

Filed on August 24th, 2010

 

Prior to August 24th, 2010:

Jalal Askander Antranick vs. Research Triangle Institute & Unity Resources Group, LLC

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

Case-No.: 5:10-cv-00073-D

 

Prior to February 27th, 2010:

Jalal Askander Antranick vs. Research Triangle Institute & Unity Resources Group, LLC

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Case-No.: 1:08-cv-00505-PLF

Filed on April 8th, 2008

 

August 24th, 2010 - Complaint & Jury Demand

 

“[…] 31. Jurisdiction is vested in this court pursuant to D.C. Code § 11-921 (2001 ed. as amended). Jurisdiction is also vested pursuant to the Survival Act, D.C. Code §§ 12-101, et seq. (2001), and the Wrongful Death Act, D.C. Code § 16-2701 (2001).

 

“32. Venue lies in the District because (1) both Defendants reside in the District and are subject to personal jurisdiction here; (2) a substantial part of the events giving rise to the cause of action occurred in the District; (3) Unity is an alien; and (4) and because both defendants can be found in the District. 28 U.S.C. § 1391 (b), (c) and (d).

 

“33. For venue purposes, all corporate defendants ‘reside’ in the District of Columbia, are subject to personal jurisdiction in the District of Columbia, and have systematic and continuous contacts with the District of Columbia. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), (c) and (d). The contract between USAID and Defendants RTI and its subcontractor Unity (covered by the subcontractor clause of this contract) was a substantial event giving rise to this claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2), (c) and (d).

 

“34. Plaintiff Jalal Askander is Genevia Jalal Antranick’s father. He was the executor of her estate, and is her personal representative and sole legal heir. These legal rights have already been determined in a probate proceeding in Iraq. Plaintiff brings this action on his own behalf and on behalf of the Estate of Genevia Jalal Antranick. The Estate of Genevia Jalal Antranick would be considered a domicile of Iraq. […]”

 

August 12th, 2010 - Judgment & Order

 

“[…] Decision by the Court: It is ordered and adjudged that the court grants RTI’s and Unity’s motions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction […] and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims. The court also dismisses Unity’s motion for a protective order […] and all other pending motions […] as moot. […]”

 

March 31st, 2010 - Plaintiff Askander’s Memorandum in Opposition to Motion for Dismissal

 

“[…] Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss should be denied in the interest of fairness and judicial economy. The Court has discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. If this federal case is dismissed, Plaintiff will he forced to refile a case against RTI in North Carolina State Court, and a second case against Unity in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Moreover, Plaintiff will have to overcome the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim brought in the District of Columbia, which has already run.

 

“The Court is now permitting Plaintiff to take discovery on whether there is general personal jurisdiction over Unity in the District of Columbia. If the Court finds that personal jurisdiction is lacking, then Unity can be dropped from the case, and the Court will have diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The court should decide whether it has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Unity before determining whether complete diversity of citizenship exists, and whether it should exercise supplemental jurisdiction. It would be wasteful and unfair to ask Plaintiff start all over again, with two separate proceedings in North Carolina and the District of Columbia, particularly after a statute of limitations has run.

 

“Finally, Defendant argues that Judge Shanstrom dismissed claims brought by Plaintiff Askander for damages he personally suffered, and that only claims brought on behalf of his daughter’s estate remain. This argument has no support in the record and should be disregarded. […]”

 

March 24th, 2010 - Defendant Research Triangle Institute’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Defendant Research Triangle Institute (hereinafter ‘RTI’) moves the court, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(h)(3) and 12(g)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to dismiss Plaintiffs’ remaining claims for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. As held by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia prior to that court’s transfer of the matter to the Eastern District of North Carolina, Plaintiffs have failed to state federal claims, and there is not complete diversity among the parties. Thus, this case is now in federal court only upon the potential exercise of supplementary jurisdiction, which RTI respectfully urges is neither prudent nor necessary. Dismissal of Plaintiffs’ remaining claims is the most appropriate course. […]”

 

February 26th, 2010 - Memorandum Opinion & Order

 

“Regarding Plaintiff Jalal Askander Antranick’s case […], for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ordered that,

 

“1. Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is reserved pending additional jurisdictional discovery. Specifically,

 

“(a) The Parties shall have until March 26, 2010 to complete limited jurisdictional discovery as to Defendant Unity’s financial and business activities solely within the District. The Parties shall then submit simultaneous additional briefing regarding Defendant Unity’s Motion to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction by April 16, 2010.

 

“2. Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint, Motion to Transfer Any Remaining Claims is granted in part and denied in part.

 

“Specifically, (a) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s Complaint for failure to name an authorized representative is denied;

 

“(b) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s First Cause of Action relating to the Alien Tort Statute is granted;

 

“(c) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s Second Cause of Action relating to the Torture Victim Protection Act is granted;

 

“(d) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s claims that it should not be liable for Defendant Unity’s actions is denied;

 

“(e) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s Seventh Cause of Action relating to his Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is granted;

 

“(f) Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Antranick’s request of declaratory and injunctive relief is granted;

 

“(g) Defendant RTI’s Motion for Transfer of Venue to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina is granted.

 

“3. All remaining claims contained in Defendants RTI and Unity’s Motions that are not discussed herein are denied.

 

“4. The Clerk of Court is directed to transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. […]”

 

August 21st, 2008 - Memorandum in Support of Motion of Defendant URG to Dismiss

 

“[…] Plaintiff has failed to show that Unity is subject either to general or specific personal jurisdiction in this District, for at least four reasons. First, Unity has never been validly served with process within the District of Columbia, and such service is a prerequisite to the exercise of general personal jurisdiction over Unity. Second, Unity is not ‘doing business’ in this District as is required to support the exercise of general personal jurisdiction. Neither Unity’s part-time ‘rent-a-desk’ arrangement in this District nor the activities of Unity’s part-time independent contractor, David Rolfes, are sufficient to create general personal jurisdiction under applicable precedent. Third, there is no basis for exercising specific jurisdiction over Unity, because Plaintiff’s claims do not ‘arise from’ any contact by Unity with this District. Plaintiff’s theory that a cause of action ‘arises from’ a contract with the United States Government whenever a stranger to the contract asserts tort claims against an alleged ‘subcontractor’ has been roundly rejected in this District.

 

“Finally, Plaintiff’s ‘conspiracy’ theory of jurisdiction is full of holes: Plaintiff has not pled conspiracy claims with the particularity required by this Court’s precedents, but rather only a legally defective (if not inherently illogical) supposed conspiracy to commit negligence, and Plaintiff identifies no acts in furtherance of this alleged ‘conspiracy’ which occurred within this District. This case, involving claims brought on behalf of an Iraqi decedent against a foreign corporation, arising from events which occurred in Baghdad, has no business being adjudicated in a U.S. court. […]”

 

August 8th, 2008 - Defendant RTI’s Memorandum in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Plaintiff implicitly acknowledges that his allegations may be formulaic and therefore insufficient, but nonetheless pleads that the ‘proper remedy’ for his ‘conclusionary’ allegations is ‘an order for a more definite statement, not dismissal of the case.’ […] He makes this plea notwithstanding that dismissal is the ordinary remedy - and the remedy in each of the cases cited by RTI. […] Fearing further that he may have run afoul of District of Columbia law governing foreign estates, Plaintiff also asks this Court ‘to retain jurisdiction while an estate is opened’ in this jurisdiction if the Court finds it necessary, even though the Plaintiff, in the interim, would lack standing. […] Plaintiff asks this Court for leniency yet again when he argues that the Court should not strike his prayers for injunctive and declaratory relief, even though he makes no argument that either is permitted by law. […]

 

“Plaintiff’s accusations are much too serious to survive on the basis of this Court’s grace. Plaintiff has over–alleged this case, and has resorted to (as he did with his complaint) rehearsed, transparent, formulaic allegations peppered with political rhetoric, rather than legal principles.

 

“Plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed because, first, he lacks standing to assert any claims in this jurisdiction on behalf of the estate, and second, he fails to allege facts sufficient to impute the alleged wrongful acts of Unity’s employees to RTI, especially given Plaintiff’s allegations/admissions that RTI is in the business of providing consulting advice to foreign governments whereas Unity performs an entirely different function, the provision of security services. Counts I, II and VII should be dismissed for the additional reason that Plaintiff cannot force–fit the alleged facts into the respective causes of action. Also, Plaintiff’s prayer for declaratory and injunctive relief should be stricken because neither relief is permitted by law, and Plaintiff does not contend otherwise. Finally, RTI’s motion to transfer any surviving claims should be granted because Plaintiff does not reside in, and has no connection to, this jurisdiction whereas (1) RTI’s principal place of business is in North Carolina; (2) 2200 of RTI’s 2600 employees work in North Carolina; (3) most all of RTI’s communications occurring in the United States regarding the Unity contract are to or from North Carolina; and (4) RTI pays Unity out of its North Carolina office. […]”

 

August 4th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant URG’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] General personal jurisdiction can be exercised over Defendant Unity Resources Group because it has a continuing corporate presence in the District directed at advancing the Defendant’s interests, and because it holds itself out to the public as doing business here. This is not only alleged in the Complaint, but also borne out in declarations made by Defendant’s Washington, D.C. agent, David Rolfes.

 

“The Court may also exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the Defendant because the Defendant’s activities in the District are related to the death of Plaintiff’s daughter. They are related and have a substantial relationship with the District because Defendant's contract with RTI is a subcontract under a USAID contract, the terms of which are controlled by USAID. In determing the contacts required to exercise specific jurisdiction, acts and omissions of co-defendant Research Triangle Institute may also be considered, because the Plaintiff has alleged a civil conspiracy.

 

“Finally, the efforts of the Defendant to insulate itself from the jurisdicion of this Court cannot serve to insulate it from the jurisdiction of all U.S. courts. Under Rule 4(k)(2) of the Federal Rules, since the Defendant has purposefully directed its activities towards the United States, it is subject to the jurisdiction of our courts. To avoid the application of Rule 4(k)(2), the burden shifts to the Defendant waive personal jurisdiction in another state where the suit could be brought. […]”

 

July 26th, 2008 - Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss

 

“[…] Genevia Jalal Antranick, a passenger in a car in downtown Baghdad, was brutally murdered by Defendant Research Triangle Institute’s (‘RTI’) security guards last year, as was the driver of the vehicle. Her father and sole legal heir, Jalal Askander, seeks to hold RTI, and its security company, Unity Resources Group (‘URG’), liable for the incident in D.C. District Court. He alleges aiding and abetting violations of international law under the Alien Tort Statute (‘ATS’) and Torture Victim Protection Act (‘TVPA’), and related state tort claims arising from the incident. Choice of laws has not yet been briefed.

 

“The driver of the vehicle, Marani Awanis Manook, was also killed in the hail of machine gun fire. Ms. Manook's estate brought suit on February 8th of this year, making similar claims to those of Mr. Askander. […] Plaintiff Askander did not file the instant lawsuit until two months later. He was reluctant to file suit because his other daughter is still in Iraq, waiting for a U.S. visa, and fears retaliation. However, the Plaintiff desires to be heard on the same issues to be decided in the Manook case, and as motions to dismiss have already been briefed in that case, he could no longer wait to file. While the staggered starts may have helped Plaintiff avoid several minor disputes that arose in the Manook case over service of process and when to brief choice of laws, Defendant has also benefitted, as it has made substantially different arguments in the second go-around. Now that the cases are in sync, joinder and a consolidated briefing schedule are in order.

 

“Defendant RTI is liable for aiding and abetting in the murder of Plaintiff's daughter in Iraq because RTI was acting under color of state law in its work to reorganize the Iraqi government. Since RTI's work in Iraq is part of a broader counterinsurgency program, the murder of Plaintiff's daughter was closely related to the hostilities, and was a war crime.

 

“RTI is also liable under the Torture Victim Protection Act. The TVPA applies to corporations because Congress intended it to have the broadest possible application. The death of Plaintiff's daughter is properly characterized as an ‘extrajudicial killing’ within the meaning of the TVPA because it was part of a documented pattern of indiscriminate violence perpetrated by private military contractors against Iraqi civilians.

 

“While the application of the laws of war in District Court may be unusual, Plaintiff's state law claims for wrongful death, negligent hiring and supervision, negligence in failing to rescue, and assault and battery are quite ordinary. Plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to show an agency, employer/employee, or joint venture relationship between defendants RTI and Unity Resources Group, such that RTI is liable for URG's torts. And in any event, RTI cannot delegate its duties with respect to its activities in Iraq, which are inherently dangerous.

 

“Finally, no good purpose would be served by forcing the Plaintiff to open a local estate, or by curtailing the Court's discretion to grant equitable or declaratory relief at this early juncture. Defendant has not met its burden to overcome Plaintiff’'s choice of forum, so neither should the case be transferred to North Carolina. Should the court find any of Plainiff's claims to be ‘conclusionary’, the proper remedy is an order for a more definite statement, not dismissal of the case. For these reasons, the Court should deny Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss, Strike and Transfer Plaintiff's claims. […]”

 

July 10th, 2008 - Motion of Defendant URG to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint

 

“[…] Plaintiffs daughter was an Iraqi national living in Baghdad. Plaintiff alleges that she was killed in Baghdad, Iraq during an altercation with representatives of the defendant Unity, which was providing security services in Iraq to representatives of its co-defendant RTI International (‘RTI’), a contractor in Iraq to the U.S. State Department.

 

“Because neither the claims nor the parties to this dispute - which revolves around an incident in Iraq between nonresidents of this District - have the requisite connections to the District of Columbia necessary to support the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Unity, the Complaint should be dismissed under Rule 12(b). Unity simply is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this District, either generally or with respect to the particular claims alleged in the Complaint. […]”

 

July 10th, 2008 - Defendant RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint

 

“[…] Defendant Research Triangle Institute (‘RTI’), by counsel, hereby moves this Court (1) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, to dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint in its entirety, with prejudice; (2) to strike Plaintiffs requests for declaratory and injunctive relief; and (3) to transfer any surviving claims.

 

“As detailed in the accompanying Statement of Points and Authorities, RTI’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Coinplaint should be granted because: (1) Plaintiff has failed to adhere to this Court’s procedural requisites prior to bringing an action on behalf of an estate; and (2) Plaintiff has not alleged facts sufficient to impute the acts of Unity’s employees to RTI.

 

“Plaintiffs First Cause of Action under the Alien Tort Statute (‘ATS’), 28 U.S.C. § 1350, should be dismissed for the additional reasons that: (1) ATS subject matter jurisdiction is lacking because the ATS generally does not apply to alleged violations of the law of nations by private actors; and (2) Plaintiff has failed to allege facts that, even if accepted as true, would be sufficient to state a claim of ‘war crimes.’

 

“Plaintiff’s Second Cause of Action under the Torture Victim Protection Act (‘TVPA’), 28 U.S.C. 5 1350, should also be dismissed for the independent and sufficient reasons that: (1) the TVPA does not apply to corporations, (2) RTI was not acting under color of law of a foreign nation, and (3) the alleged incident does not as a matter of law constitute an extra-judicial or ‘deliberated’ killing within the meaning of the TVPA.

 

“Plaintiff’s Seventh Cause of Action (negligent infliction of emotional distress) should likewise be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to allege the requisite factual allegations under the laws of the states relied upon by Plaintiff.

 

“If any of Plaintiffs claims survive the Motion to Dismiss, Defendant requests that Plaintiffs requests for declaratory and injunctive relief be stricken because neither is available as a matter of law.

 

“Finally, to the extent this Court does not dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint in its entirety, RTI moves to transfer any remaining claims to the Untied States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. RTI’s motion to transfer should be granted because: (1) strong ties bind the instant dispute to North Carolina, while no meaningful ties connect the dispute to this judicial district; and (2) this case is in its initial stages, so there is no potential for delay if any remaining claims were transferred to North Carolina. […]”

 

April 8th, 2008 - Complaint

 

“[…] 44. Defendants’ actions violate, and Plaintiff's causes of action arise from, the following laws, agreements, conventions, resolutions and treaties, which constitute specific examples of the applicable law of nations or customary international law:

 

“(a) Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350;

 

“(b) Torture Victim Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350;

 

“(c) Common law of the United States of America;

 

“(d) United Nations Charter, 59 Stat. 1031, 3 Bevans 1153 (1945);

 

“(e) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217A(iii), U.N. Doc. A/810 (1948);

 

“(f) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. Res. 2220A(xxi), 21 U.N. Doc., GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966);

 

“(g) Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, G.A. res. 39/46, 39 U.N. Doc., GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 197, U.N. Doc. A/39/51 (1984)(ratified 10/28/98);

 

“(h) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, G.A. Res. 3452, 30 U.N. Doc., GAOR Supp. (No. 34) at 91, U.N. Doc. A/10034 (1976);

 

“(i) Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (World Conference on Human Rights, 1993);

 

“(j) Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions; and

 

“(k) Statutes and common law of the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Colorado, including but not limited to, wrongful death, negligence, and recklessness. […]”

 

Photo Credits

 

Background

 

1) A woman and a child inspect a car with blood splattered on the door after two Christian Iraqi women were shot to death in central Karradah, Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi police, and witnesses said that the men who shot them were in a convoy of four SUVs commonly used by private security companies. While there was no indication Blackwater USA was involved, the attack threatened to increase calls for limits on the security firms that mounted after the Sept. 16 shooting deaths of as many as 17 Iraqi civilians allegedly that company's guards. - October 9th, 2007 - Associated Press/Stringer;

 

A killing, a victim and a funeral

 

1) The Oldsmobile carrying four friends from a Christian church in Baghdad was hit by at least 35 rounds. - October 10th, 2007 - Joshua Partlow/Washington Post;

2) Victim Marani Manook. - undated - family photo, retrieved from the Marou Awanis Manook memorial page;

3) Karon, left, Alis, second from left, and Nora, third from left, the daughters of Marou Awanis (Manook) at the funeral of their mother. - October 11th, 2007 - The Times;

 

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