Tag Archives: Public Int’l Law

Seventh Circuit Agrees with D.C. Circuit Dissent that U.S. Citizens Must Be Able to Sue U.S. Officials for Alleged Torture Overseas

Vance, et al. v. Donald Rumsfeld and the United States of America, Nos. 10-1687, 10-2442 (7th Cir. Aug. 2011), alleges that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld bears personal involvement and responsibility for alleges torture of U.S. citizens in Iraq.  The District Court denied the motion to dismiss, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that under the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Agrees To Resolve Deep Circuit Split and Decide If Alient Tort Statute Permits Actions Against Corporations

We have followed the development of federal Circuit law on whether the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, and specifically the Torture Victim Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 note § 2(a), create rights of action against corporations.   The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the issue.  The issue presents a growing and important part of … Continue Reading

UK High Court Upholds Freedom of Contract Over Public Policy Inavlidation of “Anti-deprivation” Clauses in Standard Credit Default Swap Contract

Belmont Park Investments PTY Limited (Respondent) v. BNY Corporate Trustee Services Limited and Lehman Brothers Special Financing Inc (Appellant), 2011 UKSC 38 (Trinity Term July 2011), is a decision by the UK’s Supreme Court of England and Wales that involves two important principles of international litigation practice.  The decision dismisses an appeal in the case … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Majority Holds That, There Being No New Cause of Action Created by Alient Tort Statue, No Claim Exists Against U.S. Officials Individually, Whereas, Says the Dissent, a Cause of Action in the U.S. Would Exist Against Non-U.S. Officials for the Same Conduct

Akran Mohammed Ali, et al. v. Rumsfeld, et al., No. 07-5178 (D.C.Cir. June 2011) (consol), is the appeal of an action by non-U.S. residents or citizens captured, held, and allegedly tortured by U.S. milatary personnel.  This decision affirms the District Court’s grant of a motion to dismiss Alient Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. sec 1350, and … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Claims Against Iran Precluded by the Algiers Accords; Circuit Now Silently Divided on Whether Section 1605A Does or Does Not Create Private Right of Action

Roeder, et al. v. Islamic Republic of Iran and the U.S., No. 10-5355 (D.C. Cir. July 2011), affirms the conclusion of the District Court.  We earlier posted on the District Court decision in this case.  It held that even the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. sec. 1605A, did not permit the … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Joins Eleventh and D.C. Circuits in Finding Corporate Liability Available Under the Alien Tort Statute, Splitting with the Second Circuit in Kiobel

Biomah Flomo, et al. v. Firestone Natural Rubber Co., No. 10-3675 (7th Cir. July 2011), addresses the issue of corporate liability under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350 – an issue that has split the Circuits.  More interesting for our purposes, the decision rules on issues of international litigation practice that apply more … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Holds that the Alien Tort Statute Applies to Corporations, Confirming Circuit Split with Second Circuit’s Kiobel Decision

John Doe VIII, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., No. 09-7125 (consolidated) (D.C. Cir. July 2011),  is a 112 page 2-1 majority decision analyzing the scope of claims under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. sec. 1350.  The decision confirms the Circuit split over whether the ATS applies to corporations, siding with the … Continue Reading

Illinois Federal District Court Upholds ATS Claims Against Banks for Aiding and Abetting Genocide by Looting

Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft v. Magyar Nemzeti Bank, et al., No. 10 C 1884 (N.D. Ill. May 2011), addresses motions to dismiss filed by international banking institutions that allegedly “played a role in a wealth expropriation scheme involving the theft and withholding of assets and funds from Hungarian Jews who were victims of the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Follows Its Kiobel Decision; Assumes “Hypothetical” Subject Matter Jurisdiction; Affirms a Strict Rule for Finding Alter Ego Liability for an Instrumentality of a Non-U.S. Sovereign

Shan v. China Construction Bank Corp., No. 10-2992-cv (unpublished) involves claims by a resident alien of the U.S. against China Construction Bank for alleged torture in violation of the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), 28 U.S.C. § 1350 note, as well as torture and alleged cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment, and prolonged arbitrary detention in China … Continue Reading

District Court in Eleventh Circuit Deepens the Circuit Conflict By Upholding Alient Tort Statute Claims Against Corporate Defendant

In re Chiquita Brands Int’l, Inc. Alient Tort Statute and Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Case No. 08-01916 (S.D.Fla June 2011), is multidistrict litigation of seven cases consolidated in the Southern District of Florida.   The opinion just rendered is the MDL court’s decision on motions to dismiss claims under the Alien Tort Claims Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. sec. 1350, … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Follows Strict Line of Authority on Attaching Non-U.S. Sovereign Assets To Satisfy Judgment

Jenny Rubin, et al. v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, et al., No. 08-2805 (7th Cir. 29 Mar. 2011), corrected decision (7th Cir. 1 Apr. 2011), is an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by Iran involving two distinct orders issued in connection with the plaintiffs’ efforts to collect on a judgment … Continue Reading

District of D.C. Decision, Denying Plaintiffs’ a Cause of Action Against Iran Under Specific Congressional Enactment of FSIA Exception, Awaiting Decision by the D.C. Circuit

Roeder v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Civ. Action No. 08-487 (D.D.C. 2010), on appeal, Dkt. No. 10-5355 (D.C.Cir), was argued earlier this month and is awaiting decision by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. As explained by the District Court, the case now on appeal is the latest in a long series of “attempts … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Find Personal Jurisdiction Over DamilerChrysler AG under the ATS; Upholds “Agency” Rather than Alter-Ego Jurisdiction

Bauman, et al. v. DaimlerChrysler, et al., No. 07-15386 (9th Cir. 18 May 2011), involves claims by 22 Argentinian residents against DaimlerChrysler Aktiengesellschaft (DCAG) and its Argentinian subsidiary alleging that Mercedes Benz (owned by DaimlerChrysler) collaborated with Argentine state security forces to kidnap, detain, torture, and kill plaintiffs and/or their family members during Argentina’s “Dirty … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Even U.S. Plaintiff on Forum Non Conveniens Grounds, Treating All Plaintiffs Alike

Tazoe, et al. v. Airbus SAS, et al., Dkt. No. 09, 14860 (11th Cir. 1 Feb. 2011), presents the often-raised issue of how multiple plaintiffs in the same or related cases should be treated in the context of forum non conveniens analyses.  At issue in the suit are claims arising from the TAM Linhas Aereas Flight … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Reverses and Reinstates Claims under Alient Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991

Baloco, et al. v. Drummond Co., No. 09-16216 (11th Cir. Feb. 2011) (amended 5/20/11), addresses claims under the Alient Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. sec. 1350.  The decision also provides a relatively unique treatment of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (TVPA), which is a part of the ATS within Section 1350 but, as we … Continue Reading

Another Alleged Nazi Looted Art Case Dismissed

Orkin v. The Swiss Confederation, et al., 09 Civ. 10013 (S.D.N.Y. 13 Jan. 2011), presented claims in New York federal court by a Canadian citizen against defendants who allegedly bought a van Gogh drawing from a Swiss art collector.  The complaint alleged that the plaintiff’s grandmother allegedly sold the drawing in 1933 under duress and at an … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

In our posting last September when the decision was announced (here), we discussed the Second Circuit’s decision in Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., et al., 06-4800-cv, 06-4876-cv (2d Cir. 17 Sept. 2010), which held that the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, does not subject a corporation (as opposed to natural … Continue Reading

First Circuit Rejects Claims Under International Law for Puerto Rico Representation in U.S. Electoral Process

Igartua v. U.S., No. 09-2186 (1st Cir. 24 Nov. 2010),  represents the most recent attempt – there have been three earlier trips to the First Circuit – by Iguartua, joined in most respects by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, to obtain judicial orders permitting them to participate in the apportionment of Representatives in the U.S. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules Warsaw Convention Immunity Available; Tokyo Convention Immunity Not

Eid, et al. v. Alaska Airlines Inc., No. 06-16457 (9th Cir. 30 July 2010), presents a recent Court of Appeals analysis of two international conventions that are being invoked with greater frequency in international litigation.  The treaties/conventions are the Warsaw Convention (Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air, Oct. … Continue Reading

Sovereign Immunity Available, But Individual Diplomatic Immunity Unavailable; Default Judgment under ATCA Requires Willfulness, Rules Second Circuit

Swarna v. Al-Awadi, State of Kuwait, et al., No. 09-2525, 09-3615 (2d Cir. 9/24/10), involves a review by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals of interlocutory and final judgments of default and related relief under the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1350. The claims relate to alleged trafficking, involuntary servitude, forced labor, assault, … Continue Reading

When Can Principles of International Law Be Read Into Federal Statutes? Often But Not Always, and Probably Not in the Context of Interpreting the War Powers of the Executive Branch

Practitioners and other interested parties have far more knowledgeable and insightful sources than this writer to consider the current state of play in the Guantanamo detention issues.  At the same time, the recent “decisions” to deny rehearing of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ghaleb Nassar Al-Bihani v. Obama, No. 09-5051 (D.C. Cir. 8/31/10), following … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Sends International Litigation to Mediation Without First Determining Its Own Jurisdiction; Dissent Feels Morrison May Have Overruled Extraterritorial Application of the Alien Tort Statute

In Sarei v. Rio Tinto, No. 09-56381 (9th Cir. 10/26/10), the Ninth Circuit, en banc (meaning the full court of appeals (12 judges) rather than the typical panel of three judges), addressed for at least the third time claims arising out of events on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.  Plaintiffs, non-U.S. residents, … Continue Reading

U.S. Prosecution of Same Crime Prosecuted and Punished Overseas Upheld

Our International Practice: Topics and Trends e-book discusses simultaneous or parallel proceedings in multiple sovereign jurisdictions. The recent decision in U.S. v. Gi-Hwan Jeong, 09-11127 (5th Cir. 10/22/10), demonstrates how U.S. courts deal with these types of proceedings – this one in the context of bribery prosecutions. The case demonstrates the keen need for counsel … Continue Reading

Extraterritorial Application of Federal Act Both Congressionally Justified and Constitutional in the Case of the Torture Act (Eleventh Circuit) But Not in the Case of the Lanham Act, on the Facts (Ninth Circuit)

Prior posts discussed Morrison v. National Australia Bank (No. 08-1191), where the Court held that the federal securities laws did not apply to extraterritorial conduct in a so-called foreign cubed case (foreign plaintiffs sue foreign defendants for misconduct in connection with securities traded on foreign exchanges).  Notwithstanding the press generated by and the extensive judicial treatment of that … Continue Reading