Justia International Law Opinion Summaries

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In 2014-2015, Schmückle, a German citizen living in Germany, served as MAG Group’s CEO and managing director of MAG Germany. In 2015, MAG Holdings and MAG US sued (in Michigan) for breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference under Michigan law. In response to a challenge to jurisdiction, plaintiffs alleged that Schmückle “transacted business” within Michigan and that his “actions and activities led to consequences” in Michigan. Plaintiffs asserted that: Schmückle was responsible for “worldwide operations,” including MAG US; they (Michigan residents) reported directly to Schmückle by email and phone; Schmückle was involved in determining the Michigan facility's operations, budgets, work flow, and sales priorities; he charged MAG US an annual fee, used to pay part of his salary and expenses; he reallocated work from the “consistently profitable” Michigan facility to the “less-profitable” MAG Germany operations and negatively affected the profitability of MAG US in Michigan; and he told MAG US leaders to prepare to transfer $10 million to MAG Germany. Schmückle allegedly visited Michigan twice as CEO, maintains a residence in Oregon, and sits on the boards of U.S.-based three companies. The district court, without holding an evidentiary hearing, dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Sixth Circuit reversed, stating that the record did not overcome the presumption that exercising personal jurisdiction over Schmückle in Michigan was reasonable. View "MAG IAS Holdings, Inc. v. Schmückle" on Justia Law

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S.H., the daughter of William and Chantal Holt, was born prematurely while the family was stationed at a United States Air Force (USAF) base in Spain. As a result of her premature birth, S.H. was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after the family returned to the United States. The Holts filed suit against the United States, alleging that officials at a USAF base in California negligently approved the family's request for command sponsored travel to a base in Spain ill-equipped to deal with Mrs. Holt's medical needs. The Holts also argued that S.H.'s injury first occurred upon their return to the United States. The district court awarded damages to the Holts. The court applied the foreign country exception of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2680(k), and held that an injury is suffered where the harm first impinges upon the body, even if it is later diagnosed elsewhere. Here, the undisputed facts of this case indicate that the force—the brain injury S.H. suffered at or near the time of her birth—impinged upon her body in Spain. Consequently, Spain is where the Holts' claims arose. The court concluded that S.H.'s cerebral palsy is derivative of the harm she sustained at birth. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "S. H. V. United States" on Justia Law

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After an arbitral tribunal in London found the Government of Belize in breach of a settlement agreement with The Bank of Belize Limited, the tribunal ordered that Belize pay the Bank a substantial monetary award. Belize subsequently petitioned for enforcement of the award in district court. The district court granted the petition and Belize appealed, raising multiple challenges. The court accorded Belize's arguments full consideration after careful examination of the record and found them either largely asked and answered by Circuit precedent, or otherwise properly resolved by the district court. The court rejected Belize's argument that the district court's enforcement of the arbitral award violated the New York Convention because it was "contrary to the public policy of" the United States pursuant to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of June 10, 1958, art. V(2)(b), 21 U.S.T. 2517, T.I.A.S. 2517, T.I.A.S. No. 6997, 330 U.N.T.S. 3 (1970); 9 U.S.C. 207. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Belize Bank Limited v. Government of Belize" on Justia Law

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Neto, a Brazilian businessman, entered into a trust agreement with Wells Fargo in 2009 to purchase an aircraft for his business. Wells Fargo borrowed $6 million from 1st Source, pledging the aircraft as collateral. Neto signed a personal guarantee. Three years later, Brazilian tax authorities seized the plane. After Neto stopped paying, 1st Source sued him in an Indiana district court, then filed another lawsuit in Brazil, where the plane resides. Brazilian law permits prejudgment attachment of assets, so that Neto would have only three days to pay the debt after being served with a summons; if he failed to comply the court could seize as many assets as necessary to guarantee payment. Neto unsuccessfully sought to enjoin the Brazilian lawsuit on grounds that the guarantee did not permit duplicative litigation and that the Brazilian litigation was “oppressive.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed denial of Neto’s subsequent motion for an emergency injunction pending appeal, finding that Neto had not shown a sufficient likelihood of prevailing on his claim that the Brazilian litigation was improper. The guarantee Neto signed proves that 1st Source reserves the option to sue Neto for the debt, “in any jurisdiction where the aircraft may be located.” He did not provide sufficient information about the Brazilian lawsuit to establish that it is duplicative of the Indiana suit. View "1st Source Bank v. Neto" on Justia Law

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In 2003, a 7-year-old Israeli girl was killed, her 3-year-old, American-citizen sister permanently disabled, and six Israeli members of their family were injured emotionally, when their minivan was shot up on a Jerusalem highway by members of Palestine Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group supported by the government of Iran. The survivors sued Iran under the Antiterrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. 2333, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1605A, eventually obtaining a $67 million default judgment. The plaintiffs issued federal and state subpoenas, seeking an order directing foreign parent banks to reveal Iranian assets held in any of their worldwide branches. The Japanese bank has branches in more than 40 countries; the French bank has branches in 75 countries. The banks provided the information only with respect to their 17 U.S. branches, which held no Iranian assets. The banks sought to quash the subpoenas. Plaintiffs argued that personal jurisdiction was irrelevant for enforcing subpoenas under Rule 45. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, in favor of the banks. To be entitled to use the federal district court in Chicago to obtain the information plaintiffs sought, they had to prove personal jurisdiction over the banks. The banks are not incorporated or headquartered in the U.S. and the subpoenas were not tailored to the banks’ U.S. presence or activities. View "Leibovitich v. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to hold the Palestinian Authority vicariously liable for an attack of a holy site in the West Bank by an armed gunman. The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause imposes personal jurisdiction restrictions that are less protective of defendants than those imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment, explaining that precedent foreclosed this claim. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of demonstrating that personal jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority in this case would meet the requirements of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motions for jurisdictional discovery and its grant of the Palestinian Authority's motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "Livnat v. Palestinian Authority" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Ethiopia, alleging violation of the Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510 et seq., and the Maryland common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Plaintiff alleged that he was tricked into downloading a computer program that allegedly enabled Ethiopia to spy on him from abroad. The district court dismissed the suit. The court concluded that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1604, withdraws jurisdiction in toto. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's intrusion-upon-seclusion claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Because the same reasoning applied with equal force to plaintiff's Wire Tap claim, the court also affirmed as to that claim. View "Doe v. Republic of Ethiopia" on Justia Law

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TGS, a Houston company requested seismic data from Geophysical, a Canadian company, under Canada's law that requires companies who gather seismic data about the Earth's substructure to submit their findings to the Canadian government. After a period of confidentiality, the Canadian agency that compiled this data was then apparently permitted to release it to members of the public upon specific request. Geophysicial then filed suit against TGS, alleging copyright infringement. The court held that the act of state doctrine does not forbid a United States court from considering the applicability of copyright's first sale doctrine to foreign-made copies when the foreign copier was a government agency. The court also held that the inapplicability of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., to extraterritorial conduct barred a contributory infringement claim based on the domestic authorization of entirely extraterritorial conduct. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Geophysical Service v. TGS-Nopec Geophysical" on Justia Law

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In 1963, the Republic of Guinea entered into an agreement with Halco establishing the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) for the purpose of developing Guinea's rich bauxite mines. Nanko filed suit against Alcoa, alleging breach of the CBG Agreement, asserting that it was a third-party beneficiary thereof, and another for racial discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C.1981. Nanko later added Halco as a defendant and asserted an additional claim against Alcoa for tortious interference with contractual relations. The district court dismissed the case under Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to join Guinea as a required Rule 19 party. The court concluded that the district court's Rule 19 holding failed to fully grapple with Nanko's allegations and that those allegations, accepted as true, state a claim for racial discrimination under section 1981. The court reasoned that, insofar as the existing parties' interests are concerned, evidence of Guinea's actions, views, or prerogatives can be discovered and introduced where relevant to the parties' claims and defenses even if Guinea remained a nonparty. At this stage in the pleadings, the court did not believe that the allegations could be reasonably read to show that Guinea was a necessary party. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Nanko Shipping, USA v. Alcoa" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed a petition for the return of her child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 19 I.L.M. 1501, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001 et seq. The district court denied the petition. The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in finding that respondent was "more believable" and petitioner did not challenge that determination. The court agreed with the district court that the preponderance of the evidence demonstrated that petitioner consented to respondent's removal of the child to the United States. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Padilla v. Troxell" on Justia Law