Attorneys from MLFA-funded Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America win motion to dismiss lawsuit for ‘lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”
CHICAGO (August 21, 2017) – On Friday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit attempting to collect a $156 million judgment originally awarded against now-defunct Palestinian advocacy and humanitarian relief organizations, from other Palestinian human rights advocacy groups and activists. (Boim v. American Muslims for Palestine, Case No. 1:17-cv-03591)
In 1996, members of Hamas killed David Boim in Israel. In 2000, his parents sued American organizations that were accused of funding Hamas. The Boims won a judgment for $156 million in 2004, which was affirmed in 2008. Unable to collect from the now-defunct organizations, the Boim parents filed a lawsuit against other Palestinian human rights groups and activists in May of 2017. The defendants listed in the lawsuit are American Muslims for Palestine, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation, Rafeeq Jaber, Abdelbasset Hamayel and Osama Abuirshaid.
In June, attorneys from Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, a charitable law firm funded by constitutional rights organization Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), submitted a motion on behalf of the defendants to dismiss the lawsuit arguing that unrelated Palestinian human rights organizations and activists should not be held liable for the actions of other pro-Palestinian organizations.
On Friday, August 18, 2017, Judge Coleman dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that having a mission to “educate people about Palestine” does not suggest any “nefarious intent or unlawful motive.” In the order to dismiss, the judge also pointed out that assuming guilt on the basis of a similar mission “would create a false inference that no legitimate humanitarian organization could ever be created with that mission” and the Court is “cautious of branding any organization and its members that support humanitarian interests for the people of Palestine as having an unlawful motive.”
“While we sympathize with the parents on the tragic loss of their son, we are pleased with the Court’s ruling against lumping all pro-Palestinian organizations and activists in America as somehow culpable for the actions of foreign terrorists organizations,” said Khalil Meek, executive director of MLFA. “This is a huge win for free speech in America.”
About Muslim Legal Fund of America
Muslim Legal Fund of America is a national nonprofit charity that funds projects to defend constitutional rights in America. Established in 2001, MLFA has defending freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to a fair trial, right to an attorney, due process of law and other constitutional rights. Learn more at mlfa.org.