This week’s Am Law Litigation Daily Litigator of the Week is Josh Branson of Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick. Branson this week got a ruling from a unanimous D.C. Circuit panel reviving claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act against five multinational pharmaceutical companies – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, AstraZeneca, and Roche. The suit was brought on behalf of families of 395 Americans killed or injured by the terrorist group Jaysh al-Mahdi in Iraq. Plaintiffs claims bribes and free products the companies provided to the country’s Ministry of Health ended up benefiting the terrorist group, which effectively controlled the agency.
Back in 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, D.C. held the complaint failed to state claims for either direct or secondary aiding-and-abetting liability under the ATA, and that he lacked personal jurisdiction over the company’s foreign affiliates. The D.C. Circuit, however, found for the plaintiffs on all those fronts this week and routed the case back to the district court for further proceedings.