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December 02, 2019
Brattle Client Receives $180 Million Award in Lawsuit Against Iran

A Brattle team provided economic analysis and damages calculations on behalf of The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his family in their successful lawsuit against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Mr. Rezaian, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, was living in Iran and working for the Post as its Tehran correspondent in July 2014 when he and his wife were arrested at gunpoint. Although Mr. Rezaian’s wife was released after two months, he was held in custody for 544 days. Mr. Rezaian was charged with espionage, and while in custody he was physically and psychologically abused and interrogated. He was ultimately released in January 2016.

After his release, Mr. Rezaian and his family filed suit against Iran, seeking damages for lost earnings potential, as well as the torture and abuse he endured. On behalf of the Rezaians, WilmerHale retained a Brattle team led by Principal Benjamin Sacks to calculate economic damages. Mr. Sacks calculated the economic losses suffered by Mr. Rezaian; his brother, Ali Rezaian; and his mother, Mary Rezaian, and submitted an expert report. Iran did not appear in court to defend its conduct.

On November 22, 2019, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted a motion for default judgement and ordered Iran to pay nearly $180 million in damages. This amount included nearly $10 million in economic damages (in line with Mr. Sacks’ estimates), over $20 million in damages for pain and suffering, and $150 million in punitive damages.