Bolivians urge US court to restore $10M verdict on killings

Litigation Regulations

Bolivians asked a U.S. appeals court Tuesday to restore a $10 million jury verdict against a former president and defense minister of the South American nation over killings by security forces during 2003 unrest there.

Lawyers for a group of indigenous Bolivians told a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Florida judge was wrong to set aside last year's verdict.

The jury found against former Bolivian President Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada and former defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain. Both have been living in the U.S. after fleeing Bolivia in 2003.

We have faith that the court of appeals will see what the Bolivian people and the American jury also saw: that Goni and Sanchez Berzain are responsible for these killings, and that justice must be done," said Teofilo Baltazar Cerro, a plaintiff whose pregnant wife Teodosia was shot and killed during the unrest.

The judges did not indicate when they would rule. In the lawsuit, relatives of eight Bolivians who died claimed the two officials planned to kill thousands of civilians to crush political opposition during civil unrest known as the "Gas War." The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which authorizes suits in the U.S. for extrajudicial killings.

The unrest erupted in the fall of 2003 as street protests in Bolivia over use of the country's vast natural gas reserves boiled over. Demonstrators threw up street blockades of flaming debris and rubble in several places including on the outskirts of the capital of La Paz, and violent clashes between police and security forces with the civilian protesters turned deadly.

At times, government forces intent on clearing street barricades fired on demonstrators, mainly in the El Alto municipality adjacent to La Paz, leading to deaths. Other fatalities were reported in confrontations between security forces and Bolivian miners marching to the capital in support of the protesters. Many of the civilian victims were indigenous Aymara Bolivians.

Related listings

  • Hong Kong court reinstates mask ban ahead of elections

    Hong Kong court reinstates mask ban ahead of elections

    Litigation Regulations 11/22/2019

    A Hong Kong court that had struck down a ban on face masks at protests said Friday that the government could enforce it for one week, as police readied for any unrest during keenly contested elections this weekend.The High Court granted the temporary...

  •  N Carolina legislative districts set for 2020 as appeal ends

    N Carolina legislative districts set for 2020 as appeal ends

    Litigation Regulations 11/15/2019

    North Carolina's legislative districts are set for the 2020 elections after the state Supreme Court refused on Friday to fast-track a redistricting appeal. That decision led the plaintiffs who successfully sued based on partisan bias claims to end th...

  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange loses bid to delay hearing

    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange loses bid to delay hearing

    Litigation Regulations 10/21/2019

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a U.K. court Monday to fight extradition to the United States on espionage charges, and he lost a bid to delay proceedings so that his legal team would have more time to prepare his case.Assange defiantly ...

Any contracts or any transactions can go awry at any time

We know your business means a lot to you and want to understand all the aspects of your business so that we can help you in the best ways possible. We don’t discriminate depending on the size of your company. Our mission statement is to represent all business owners and entrepreneurs by navigating them through the rough waters of business litigation and guiding them to success.

We are attorneys who want to make sure we understand your business objectives and goals before we start providing you with legal counsel individualized to your business. We know what it means to be dedicated to your business. After all, we are a business as well. And just like you, we want to provide the best service we can to our clients.

Any contracts or any transactions can go awry at any time. Sometimes, making important business decisions without legal help from business attorneys could cost you your business.We don’t want you or your business to be misconstrued by anyone. Our attorneys make sure that we communicate with you often to make sure we are giving you the legal guidance you need at all times. We make sure we are responsive in a timely-manner with every single one of our clients to help them identify risks and prevent legal battles before they arise.