The United States Law Week

Deutsche Bank Not Liable to Mom of Soldier Killed in Iraq

Dec. 13, 2018, 2:54 PM

Deutsche Bank AG isn’t liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act to the mother of a U.S. soldier who was killed by a terrorist bomb in Iraq, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said Dec. 12.

Rhonda Kemper didn’t show the bank’s conduct was international terrorism, the opinion by Chief Judge Diane P. Wood said.

Kemper argued that the bank is responsible under the ATA because of its alleged membership in an Iranian conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, which, she said, the bank joined by designing procedures to evade U.S. sanctions and facilitate Iranian banking. She claimed the bomb was an Iranian weapon that traveled to Iraqi militias, who placed it in the ground before it killed her son

Under the ATA, Kemper had to show her son was killed by an act of international terrorism. But she didn’t show the bank’s conduct was violent or displayed terroristic intent, the court said.

The bank’s business dealings may violate U.S. sanctions, but they aren’t terrorist conduct, the court said. Its interactions with Iranian entities were motivated by economics, not by a desire to intimidate or coerce, it said.

The ATA is also a tort statute, and Kemper failed to show proximate causation, the court said. There were numerous criminal intervening acts separating the bank from the terrorist attack that killed her son, it said.

Kemper’s conspiracy allegations are factually implausible, and her legal theory underlying them is problematic, the court said.

Judges Ilana Diamond Rovner and Michael B. Brennan joined the opinion.

Peter Raven-Hansen, Washington, represented Kemper. Covington & Burling LLP represented Deutsche Bank.

The case is Kemper v. Deutsche Bank AG, 2018 BL 459982, 7th Cir., No. 18-1031, 12/12/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com

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