Families of 17 sailors killed in 2000 USS Cole attack file 2nd lawsuit against Sudan

By , AP
Monday, April 19, 2010

Families of USS Cole victims sue Sudan again

NORFOLK, Va. — Relatives of the 17 sailors killed in the attack on the USS Cole are suing Sudan for emotional damages they were denied in a previous lawsuit.

Sixty-one family members filed the new lawsuit late last week in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, the Cole’s homeport and home of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. They are seeking $282.5 million in damages for pain and suffering.

Three years ago, 33 family members were awarded $8 million in compensatory damages after U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar found Sudan liable for assisting the terrorists who attacked the destroyer at a Yemini port in 2000. Doumar ruled that the federal Death on the High Seas Act allowed him to award compensation only for lost wages and earning potential, not for pain and suffering.

Congress changed the law in 2008, allowing families of terrorism victims to seek pain and suffering damages.

Sudan, which has denied any responsibility for the attack, did not fight the original lawsuit but also refused to pay the damages. Interest drove the amount owed to $13.4 million, which eventually was paid from Sudanese assets frozen by the U.S. government.

Individual awards ranged from $200,000 to $1.2 million but were limited to spouses and children.

The new lawsuit lists 24 parents as plaintiffs, along with eight spouses or permanent companions, 20 siblings and nine children. They seek individual awards of up to $10 million.

Attorneys for the families did not immediately return phone messages.

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