In 2001, lead plaintiff James Owens , and others, filed a civil lawsuit against Sudan , for its role in the attack.  They argued that Sudan was at fault for providing sanctuary to the bombers, prior to the attack. They were awarded over $10 billion dollars.  Sudan, which had not appeared during the initial lawsuit, appealed the judgment, arguing it did not understand the US civil suit system, and did not understand the consequences of not appearing.  The appeals court discounted that argument, but removed $6 billion of punitive damages that relied on violations of laws passed after the attack.