(CN) – The family of a terror victim has the right to a jury trial in its attempt to collect $100 million from the Palestinian Authority, a New York appeals court ruled.
Yaron Unger was murdered along with his pregnant wife in Israel in 1996. His survivors and the administrators of his estate claimed that members of Hamas carried out the attack on the orders of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority.
The plaintiffs won a $116.4 million declaratory judgment in 2006. This resulted in the freezing of $100 million from a pair of Palestinian pension funds.
The Insurance and Pension Fund (IPF) tried to unfreeze and claim the assets, but the plaintiffs asked for a declaratory judgment declaring that IPF was engaging in fraud.
The plaintiffs demanded a jury trial, and the lower court granted the request. The Manhattan-based First New York Appellate Division affirmed the decision.
“The plaintiffs argue that the motion court held correctly that the action is substantively analogous to an action at law for tortious interference with the enforcement of a judgment. We agree,” Justice James Catterson wrote.
“There is no question … that the cause of action existed at the time that the (New York) Constitution was enacted in 1894. Nor is there any doubt that the action was an action at law and thus, triable by a jury,” he added.