White & Case secures final dismissal for National Bank of Pakistan in Antiterrorism Act case in US federal court

Press Release
2 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP has successfully represented the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in securing dismissal of a lawsuit against NBP under the aiding-and-abetting provision of the US Antiterrorism Act, a decisive victory that involved no admission of any wrongdoing whatsoever and no payment by NBP to the plaintiffs. The dismissal became final when the plaintiffs elected to abandon their case just days before an appeals court was set to hear the plaintiffs' appeal from a district court dismissal. 

In both the district court and the court of appeals, White & Case challenged the plaintiffs' pleadings for failure to state a claim under the Antiterrorism Act, failure to plead personal jurisdiction over NBP and lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. White & Case's advocacy persuaded the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaints three times, although each time the court permitted the plaintiffs to attempt, unsuccessfully, to cure their pleading deficiencies with a further amended complaint. Following dismissal of their fourth complaint, the plaintiffs filed an appeal, asking the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reverse the District Court's dismissal order. White & Case briefed the appeal on behalf of NBP, renewing its arguments based on failure to state a claim, lack of personal jurisdiction and lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 

While the appeal was pending, the US Supreme Court ruled in Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh, No. 21 1491 (May 18, 2023), a case in which a group of plaintiffs attempted to hold social media companies liable for failing to block terrorist activity on their platforms. That highly anticipated ruling explained the high bar that plaintiffs must meet to state a claim for aiding and abetting under the Antiterrorism Act against a company that offers widely available services at arm's length to customers around the world. 

The appeal in the case against NBP would have been the Second Circuit's first opportunity to apply Twitter v. Taamneh; however, one week before the scheduled oral argument date, the plaintiffs opted to voluntarily dismiss their appeal. White & Case obtained favorable dismissal terms for NBP, securing a dismissal of the action with prejudice and with the plaintiffs agreeing that the dismissal would have the same claim preclusive effects as if the appeal had resulted in affirmance of the trial court's dismissal order. NBP obtained these terms without any payment to the plaintiffs, a testament to NBP's consistent and explicit denial of any involvement in the alleged material support of terrorism through the provision of routine banking services. 

The White & Case team representing NBP includes partners Christopher M. Curran and Claire A. DeLelle, and associate Alison Perry (all in Washington, DC).

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