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U.S.-flagged ships on the high seas do not fall within the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act's (FSIA), 26 U.S.C. 1605, non-commercial torts exception. Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that Israeli Defense Forces attacked the vessel they were on and detained them in violation of international law. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint based on Israel's immunity from suit, finding that neither the "non-commercial torts" nor "terrorism" exceptions of the FSIA allowed jurisdiction. The court rejected plaintiffs' contention that Congress' amendment of the FSIA exception eliminated the requirement that a state be designated a sponsor of terrorism for the exception to apply. View "Schermerhorn v. State of Israel" on Justia Law

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Anwar, a U.S. citizen, was hired to work for MEG International in Dubai. Anwar alleges that, following her promotion, her supervisor, Ramachandran, began harassing her about working when she had young children; openly made comments about not needing highly-paid female employees; and expressed his disapproval of Anwar’s divorce, going so far as to meet with her husband. Anwar alleges that this culminated in her termination, one day after she initiated her divorce. Anwar sued in a Dubai court and obtained severance pay. She argues that Dubai’s courts could not provide a sufficient remedy for sex and marital status discrimination. Anwar filed a complaint in Michigan, alleging that she was impermissibly terminated because of her gender, religion, national origin, and marital status, citing Title VII; the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; and breach contract. The district court dismissed claims against Ramachandran for lack of personal jurisdiction and opened discovery for limited purposes: Investigating Anwar’s allegations that MEG International does business as MEG America and that the MEGlobal subsidiaries act as a single entity and Anwar’s allegation that Ramachandran and other MEG managers are employed by Dow. Dow obtained a protective order to prohibit depositions. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of all claims. Anwar did not allege facts, aside from those demonstrating possible macromanagement, that MEG International is the alter ego of MEG Americas. Under Michigan law, the separate entities will be respected unless “a contrary determination would be inequitable.” View "Anwar v. Dow Chemical Co." on Justia Law

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Taglieri, a citizen of Italy, was studying in Chicago when he met Monasky, an American citizen. They married and together decided to move to Italy. Taglieri was licensed to practice medicine in Italy and would have had to meet onerous requirements to practice in the U.S.. Monasky had a fellowship in Milan. Monasky became pregnant. Monasky alleges that Taglieri was sexually abusive and frequently hit her. Taglieri acknowledges “smack[ing]” Monasky once. Taglieri’s work required frequent travel; Monasky encountered professional difficulties and did not speak much Italian. Monasky applied for jobs in the U.S., contacted divorce lawyers, and researched American childcare options. The couple also investigated Italian child-care. Monasky sought an Italian driver’s license; the two moved to a larger apartment under a lease in Monasky’s name. The couple disputes whether the ensuing weeks involved Monasky planning to stay or return to the U.S. After an argument, Monasky took baby A, sought refuge in a safe house, and left Italy with eight-week-old A. Taglieri obtained termination Monasky’s parental rights in Italy, and filed a petition in Ohio, seeking A's return. The Sixth Circuit affirmed that A’s habitual residence (the location that she should be returned to) was Italy, that Monasky had no definitive plans to return to the U.S. until the final altercation, and that the other Hague Convention requirements were satisfied: Taglieri had properly exercised his custody rights, A’s removal was wrongful, Monasky had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that Taglieri posed a grave risk of harm to A. If a child lives exclusively in one country, that country is presumed to be the child’s habitual residence. View "Taglieri v. Monasky" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a petition pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeking the return of three children from New York to Thailand. The court held that the Convention does not enter into force until a ratifying state accepts an acceding state's accession and that Article 35 limits the Convention's application to removals and retentions taking place after the Convention has entered into force between the two states involved. Therefore, because the Convention did not enter into force between the United States and Thailand until April 1, 2016, after the allegedly wrongful retention of the children in New York on October 7, 2015, the Convention does not apply to petitioner's claim and the district court did not err in dismissing his petition. View "Marks v. Hochhauser" on Justia Law

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A father objected to a California court order confirming the registration of an Italian child and spousal support order pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). On appeal, Father argued the trial court: (1) “misallocated to Father the burden of proving that Italy is not a state under UIFSA,” (2) “improperly deprived Father of an evidentiary hearing to refute the notion that Italy is such a state,” (3) “erroneously refused to render a statement of decision,” and (4) “erred as a matter of law in concluding that Italy is a state under UIFSA.” Finding no merit to these contentions, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order. View "Cima-Sorci v. Sorci" on Justia Law

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Judgment creditors of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security sought to enforce underlying judgments obtaining the turnover of $1.68 billion in bond proceeds allegedly owned by Bank Markazi. The Second Circuit held that the settlement agreements released plaintiffs' non-turnover claims with respect to some but not all of the banks; the assets at issue were in fact located abroad, but that those assets may nonetheless be subject to turnover under state law pursuant to an exercise of the court's in personam jurisdiction, inasmuch as the district court has the authority under New York State law to direct a non‐sovereign in possession of a foreign sovereignʹs extraterritorial assets to bring those assets to New York State; and those assets will not ultimately be subject to turnover, however, unless the district court concludes on remand that such in personam jurisdiction exists and the assets, were they to be recalled, would not be protected from turnover by execution immunity. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, alleging that defendant, who had power of attorney over plaintiff's finances, stole millions of dollars from him through fraudulent financial schemes. The district court granted defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiff failed to allege a domestic injury as required by RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community, 136 S. Ct. 2090 (2016). The Second Circuit held that, to the extent plaintiff alleged injuries to property located within the United States, he satisfied the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act's, 18 U.S.C. 1964(c), domestic injury requirement. But to the extent plaintiff alleged injuries to property located outside of the United States, the fact that defendant or his co‐defendants transferred those stolen funds to (or through) the United States fails to transform an otherwise foreign injury into a domestic one. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Yarur Bascunan v. Yarur Elsaca" on Justia Law

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A Cayman Islands investment fund and two of its Delaware subsidiaries (collectively “Gramercy”) sued a bank organized under Delaware law with offices in Illinois and Bulgaria (Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund, or “Bulgarian-American”) and an Irish bank headquartered in Dublin (Allied Irish Banks, P.L.C., or “Allied”) over claims they admitted arose under Bulgarian law and had no connection to activity that took place in Delaware. Delaware was the second forum in which Gramercy sought to press its Bulgarian claims. The first forum was Illinois, where: (i) after extensive discovery and briefing on the issue of forum non conveniens, the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago granted a motion to dismiss; (ii) the Illinois Appellate Court unanimously affirmed the Circuit Court’s dismissal; and (iii) the Illinois Supreme Court denied Gramercy’s petition for leave to appeal. Rather than going to Bulgaria and suing in the forum whose laws governed its claims and where its investment in Bulgarian-American took place, Gramercy sued in Delaware. Bulgarian-American and Allied filed a motion to dismiss, arguing Bulgaria was the appropriate forum for the litigation. In granting Bulgarian-American and Allied’s motion and holding that Gramercy’s suit did not merit the overwhelming hardship standard afforded to first-filed actions under Cryo-Maid, the Delaware Court of Chancery was forced to address confusing arguments about this Court’s forum non conveniens precedent, in particular, the relationship among the Delaware Supreme Court’s longstanding decisions in “CryoMaid” and “McWane,” and a more recent decision, “Lisa, S.A. v. Mayorga.” Ultimately, the Delaware Supreme Court determined the Court of Chancery correctly held that because the Delaware action was not first filed, and that to obtain dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds, Bulgarian-American and Allied did not need to show overwhelming hardship. But, because the Illinois case was no longer pending, and was not dismissed on the merits like the first-filed action in Lisa, McWane was no longer the proper focus for the Court of Chancery’s analysis. The Illinois action had relevance in the forum non conveniens analysis because it meant that analysis would not be tilted in Gramercy’s favor under the overwhelming hardship standard. But, because the Illinois action was not dismissed on its merits, but instead for forum non conveniens, it should not have shifted the Court’s focus from Cryo-Maid to McWane. Between Cryo-Maid’s overwhelming hardship standard and McWane’s discretionary standard lies an intermediate analysis that applies to situations like Gramercy’s: a straightforward assessment of the CryoMaid factors, where dismissal is appropriate if those factors weigh in favor of that outcome. View "Gramercy Emerging Markets Fund, et al. v. Allied Irish Banks, P.L.C., et al." on Justia Law

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Midbrook filed suit seeking recognition of an Amsterdam Court of Appeals judgment under Washington's Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act (UFCMJRA). The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Midbrook and denied Holland America's discovery request under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). The panel held that the commentary and prefatory note to the UFCMJRA demonstrate that under section 4(c)(8), courts ask only whether the party resisting judgment "was denied fundamental fairness in the particular proceedings leading to the foreign-country judgment," not whether the foreign proceedings literally conformed to the requirements of due process under our own Constitution. UFCMJRA 4 cmt. 12. The panel explained that it was not necessary to decide whether process accorded to Midbrook also passed muster under American standards of due process. The panel held that the Dutch courts' treatment of Holland America's discovery requests was a mere "procedural difference" that was insufficient to establish that the Dutch proceedings were fundamentally unfair; Holland America was not denied due process when the Amsterdam Court of Appeal overturned the Alkmaar District Court's factual finding denying the existence of the parties' alleged 1999 settlement agreement; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Holland America's motion for additional discovery. View "Midbrook Flowerbulbs Holland v. Holland America Bulb Farms" on Justia Law

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Kung Da Chang entered into a credit facility arrangement with Shanghai Commercial Bank (SCB) between March and April 2008 by executing five agreements. Together, these five agreements enabled Chang and his father, Clark Chang, to borrow large sums from SCB, and those sums make up the underlying debt obligation at issue in this lawsuit. These five documents defined Chang and SCB's agreement and governed their obligations. The parties' agreement explicitly included a choice of law provision selecting Hong Kong law as the governing law. SCB delivered the agreement papers for Chang's signature to an address in Shanghai that was actually Clark's residence. Clark sent the documents to his son in Seattle. Chang signed the documents, returned them to his father in Shanghai, and Clark forwarded them to SCB in Hong Kong. There was no indication that SCB knew that it was dealing with a person residing in Seattle. Chang ultimately defaulted on the debt obligation, and the parties litigated the matter in Hong Kong. SCB prevailed and secured a $9 million judgment. The Hong Kong judgment encompassed what Washington State considered Chang and his wife's marital community; Hong Kong law exempted solely separate property of a spouse, not community property, from judgments entered against one spouse. The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review was whether the Hong Kong judgment as enforceable against marital community property in Washington State. Specifically, the issue was whether the choice-of-law provision in the contracts along with application of the "most significant relationship" test for determining conflict of law issues, and ultimately, whether Hong Kong law should be applied to reach the community assets in Washington to satisfy the valid and enforceable foreign judgment. The Washington Supreme Court determined that under the facts of this case, the debtor's community property could be reached to satisfy the Hong Kong judgment. View "Shanghai Commercial Bank, Ltd. v. Kung Da Chang" on Justia Law