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Collateral Damage: An Examination of Tort Liability Post 9/11

The actors who are primarily responsible for a terrorist attack are unlikely to be defendants in a civil trial. The terrorists themselves may be dead, otherwise beyond the effective reach of the civil court system, or judgment-proof. Thus, it is quite predictable that plaintiffs and their lawyers will seek recompense against domestic third-party defendants whose liability is, at best, far more attenuated, but whose amenability to a civil suit, and financial resources, are far greater. For a discussion of suits against terrorists and their supporters, see Hamish Hume & Gordon Dwyer Todd, Ambulance Chasing for Justice: How Private Lawsuits for Civil Damages Can Help Combat International Terror (Federalist Society, 2002).