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Chabad Prevails in District Court Rulings, Sanctions Against Russia Top $120 Million

December 20, 2019

Rothwell Figg and its co-counsel, Lewin & Lewin, LLP, secured another victory on behalf of pro bono client Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States in Chabad’s lawsuit against the Russian Federation.

In a series of decisions and orders issued on Friday, December 20, 2019, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia paved the way for Chabad to take discovery aimed at enforcing the Court’s 2010 order that Russia return to Chabad the Schneerson archive and library, parts of which were taken during the Russian Revolution, and parts of which were seized during the Holocaust, and all of which is currently being held illegally by Russia. The Court also entered a judgment of $78,300,000.00 against Russia as sanctions for Russia’s failure to follow the court’s order. Added to a previous sanctions judgment of $43,700,000.00, Russia is now liable to Chabad for $122,000,000.00. Sanctions will continue to accrue at $50,000.00 per day until the Schneerson collection is returned to Chabad.

Chabad’s attorney, Steven Lieberman, stated, “On behalf of Chabad, we are thrilled by the result. The Court issued a well-reasoned opinion that makes clear that Chabad is entitled to discovery aimed at enforcing the Court’s judgments. The Court also provided a path for Chabad to enforce the judgments through attachment of Russian assets in the United States. This is an important step for Chabad in its decades-long efforts to secure the return of the sacred property that was stolen from it.”

Chabad is represented by Steven Lieberman, Robert Parker, Jennifer Nock, Dan McCallum, and Richard Waterman of Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, P.C., and Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP. The case is Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States v. Russian Federation, et al., No. 05-cv-1548.

You can read more about the case in previous coverage on our website: Rothwell Figg Team Appears in District Court on Behalf of Pro Bono Client Chabad in Ongoing Battle Against Russian Federation (December 3, 2019); Rothwell Figg Attorneys Celebrate Return of Sacred Text with Government Officials (November 9, 2017); Rothwell Figg Helps Secure Return of Chabad’s Sacred Text, a Milestone in Decades-Long Litigation between Chabad and the Russian Federation (October 31, 2017); Partner Steven Lieberman Quoted in BuzzFeed News Article On Jewish Texts Seized by Russia (October 11, 2017); Court Issues $43 Million Sanction Order Against Russian Federation in Favor of Rothwell Figg Client (September 10, 2015).