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On Demand Audio

Taking on the Terrorists: How to Use Civil Lawsuits to Bankrupt the Bad Guys

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on November 17, 2015

Taught by
$ 59 Constitutional and Litigation In Stock

Course Information

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

Foreign terrorist organizations need money to survive. The United States, unlike most other countries, provides a forum for nationals of foreign states to bring civil actions against their tormentors in federal court, even if the alleged violations took place outside of U.S. territory. By using such legal action to bring civil lawsuits, those who have been victimized by acts of terrorism can cut off the money supply that is the lifeblood of these terrorist organizations.  


In this course, attorney Ameer Benno provides an overview of the different claims that can be brought in U.S. courts to help accomplish this important goal, including the “state sponsored terrorism” exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Alien Tort Statute (also known as the Alien Tort Claims Act), the Torture Victims Protection Act, and the Anti-Terrorism Act. This course also provides an overview on the process of conducting international discovery, and getting judgments obtained pursuant to these lawsuits recognized and enforced in non-U.S. domestic judicial fora.   


Learning Objectives:

I.     Understand the state-sponsored terrorism exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

II.    Become acquainted with the Alien Tort Statute

III.   Explore the Torture Victims Protection Act

IV.   Gain insight into the Anti-Terrorism Act

V.    Identify the nuances of conducting international discovery

VI.   Comprehend how to get judgments obtained pursuant to these lawsuits recognized and enforced in non-U.S. domestic judicial fora


Ameer Benno

Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP

An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Ameer Benno litigates civil rights and personal injury matters for Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP. Ameer takes great pride in seeking justice for those who have been injured by the wrongdoing of others. His personal injury cases include premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, and construction accident cases. In his civil rights practice, Mr. Benno champions the rights of individuals who have been subjected to governmental abuses of authority. These cases range from police misconduct matters to prisoner rights cases, from unjust conviction claims to employment discrimination matters.

Ameer began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney at the esteemed Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served for several years in both the trial division and the appeals bureau. Upon leaving government service, Mr. Benno worked at premier civil litigation law firms where he focused on representing plaintiffs in personal injury and civil rights matters in both state and federal courts.

Mr. Benno is admitted to the New York and Connecticut state bars, and is admitted to practice in the federal courts of the Southern, Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of New York, as well as to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

From 2006 through 2012, Mr. Benno was an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing. Mr. Benno regularly lectures for bar associations and continuing legal education providers on topics having to do with trial practice, civil rights litigation, Constitutional law, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Benno has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 and has been named a New York Metro Super Lawyer every year since 2012 in the area of civil rights law. Mr. Benno has also been selected for membership in the National Association of Distinguished Counsel as one of the “Nation’s Top Attorneys.” These are invitation-only organizations composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state who meet stringent qualifications. Mr. Benno is rated 10.0, the highest rating given, by the online lawyer rating service

Ameer serves on the Civil Rights Committee, Federal Courts Committee, and Appellate Law Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association. He is a member of the National Police Accountability Project, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (where he chairs the Civil Right Committee), and the Brooklyn Bar Association. He sits on the board of directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is vice president of the Nassau Lawyers’ Association of Long Island.

In addition to his membership in professional organizations, Mr. Benno is a civic leader. He is the president of the Merrick-Bellmore Jewish Community Council, the board of directors of the Merrick Jewish Centre, and as a member of the Nassau County Police Commissioner's Community Council for the 19th Legislative District.  He is a member of the Nassau County Police Reserves, the Bellmore Kiwanis, the Bellmore Lions Club, and the Bellmore Historical Society.  He proudly serves as a First Lieutenant in the New York Guard. 

Ameer is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School. He lives in Bellmore, NY with his wife, Gayle, and three daughters.


Isaac M.


Deborah S.

Another fantastic Benno class!

M. Henry H.

Great presentation.

Donald B.


Richard R.

Solid information, professionally delivered. Thank you

Richard C.

One of your best lecturers, if not the best.

Wendy Y.

Excellent, very interesting topic and great presenter

Martin W.

Interesting topic. Good overview.

Marc P.

Listen again

Ian R.

Truly excellent!

Alicia A.

Ameer Benno is an excellent presenter

Beth F.

I would recommend to a colleague who has an interest in this field of law.

Douglas R.

excellent well-versed presenter!

Jeanne Anne N.

Outstanding course. Knowledgeable presenter and good selecton of materials.

Christa J.


Michael W.

good written materials to supplement oral presentation

William L S.


Retha M.

Excellent program.

Lisa D.

interesting topic and theory.

Thomas B. M.

Informative. I didn't know about this.

Dorrie W.

This is a fascinating concept, and I am glad I know more now about these civil remedies.

Nicolas G.

Fascinating sweep of a critical subject!

Ruth G.

Extremely informative. The best!

Patricia L.


Magin P.

Very solid overview. Good speaking style, tone and pace.

Robert F.


Lois L.

Excellent communicator.

Richard C.

Tons of excellent backup information that is worth reviewing.

Jerod B.

good speaker, I wonder how many cases have actually recovered damages from outside the USA

michael c.

good presentation

David G.

Excellent presentation. Very informative.

Constance H.

Excellent presentation.

Lynne C.

Really informative on a broad topic in a very short amount of time.

John G.

very good

Karin V.

There was a lot of material in this presentation. I think the topic (even as just an introduction) warrants a little extra time for presentation.

Michele C.

highly informative

Lee C.

not relevant to my job but very interesting!

Mary S.

It was a fantastic overview

Thomas J.


Ken s.

Excellent. An admirable person trying to help people who need it.

Michael L. Simonini S.

Thought provoking

Patrick G.

Very interesting course.

Sheila M.

a true expert on the subject matter

gary t.

Excellent presentation

Maria H.

He was very informative. I just wish the course could have been a bit longer so he could have expanded some more of the concepts discussed. He was excellent though!

Melissa E.

A really interesting update on this area of the law.

Siobhan C.

very engaging, I like this one, recommended it to others

Nancy B.

I watched this more from an interest point of view as I will never be practicing in this area, pretty interesting.

priscilla w.

very good presentation

James W.


Michael B.

Not an area that I practice in nor have any intention of practicing in, but I still found the presentation to be interesting and worthwhile to gain a basic sense of this field of law.

Charlene U.

Very informative and well presented

Amy L. B.

Excellent, clear and informative presentation.

Stuart T.

outstanding synthesis of many disparate concepts

arthur a.

Interesting and timely ; topic was well developed and presented; extremely informative

Paul J.

Good lecture.

Mike S.

Compelling presentation of a large quantity of material on a fascinating subject.

Chalin S.

Really fascinating subject matter. Great lecture as well.

Rachel T.

Very timely, really enjoyed

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