Three Judges, Four Opinions

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Estate of Mark Parsons v. Palestinian Authority. The case is interesting in its own right, concerning whether the Palestinian Authority can be held liable for Mark Parsons death under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, but so is the disposition. The three judges on the panel wrote four opinions. Judge Tatel wrote for the court, but also wrote a concurring opinion. Judges Henderson and Brown each wrote opinions concurring-in-part and dissenting-in-part as well.

For a taste of the case, here’s how Judge Tatel’s opinion for the court begins:

While providing security for a U.S. State Department convoy in the Gaza Strip, Mark Parsons was killed by a roadside bomb. Parsons’s estate and his family sued the Palestinian Authority under the AntiTerrorism Act of 1991, alleging that the Authority had provided material support for and conspired with the terrorist or terrorists who detonated the bomb. Concluding that the Parsons family had produced insufficient evidence to create genuine disputes of material fact on these Anti-Terrorism Act claims, the district court granted summary judgment to the Palestinian Authority. Although we agree with the district court that the family’s conspiracy claim theories are too speculative to survive summary judgment, we believe a reasonable juror could conclude that Palestinian Authority employees provided material support to the bomber. Accordingly, we affirm with respect to the conspiracy claim but reverse as to material support.

(Hat tip: How Appealing)