Justia International Law Opinion Summaries
Germaninvestments AG v. Allomet Corporation
Plaintiff-appellant Germaninvestments Aktiengesellschaft (AG) (“Germaninvestments”) was a Swiss holding company formed to manage assets for the Herrling family. Defendant Allomet Corporation (“Allomet”) was a Delaware corporation that manufactured high-performance, tough-coated metal powders using a proprietary technology for coating industrial products. Defendant Yanchep LLC (“Yanchep”), was also a Delaware limited liability company with Mirta Hereth as its sole member (together, Allomet and Yanchep are referred to as “Appellees”). Allomet struggled with declining performance as early as 2002. In mid-2016, Tanja Hausfelder, an insurance professional who apparently knew or worked with the Herrlings and Hereth, advised Herrling that Hereth was looking for a joint venture partner to join Allomet. After a meeting in Switzerland, Herrling and Hereth discussed a general structure for their joint venture to raise capital for Allomet. The issue this case presented for the Delaware Supreme Court’s review centered on whether the Court of Chancery correctly determined that a provision in a Restructuring and Loan Agreement between the parties was a mandatory, as opposed to a permissive, forum selection clause. The Court of Chancery held that Austrian law governed the analysis of the forum selection provision, and determined that the provision is governed by Article 25 of the European Regulation on Jurisdiction and Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters. Based upon these conclusions, the court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss in favor of the Austrian forum. The Delaware Supreme Court held that Appellees, who raised Austrian law as a basis for their motion to dismiss, had the burden of establishing the substance of Austrian law, and that the Court of Chancery erred in determining that Appellees had carried that burden. Accordingly, the forum selection provision analysis should have proceeded exclusively under Delaware law. Applying Delaware law, the Delaware Court determined the forum selection provision was permissive, not mandatory. “As such, the forum selection provision is no bar to the litigation proceeding in Delaware.” The Court affirmed the Court of Chancery’s holding that 8 Del. C. section 168 was not the proper mechanism for the relief Appellants sought. Therefore, this matter was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded to the Court of Chancery for further proceedings. View "Germaninvestments AG v. Allomet Corporation" on Justia Law
Smith v. Malaysia Airlines Berhad
This appeal arose out of the unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean in the early hours of March 8, 2014. Representatives of many of the passengers filed suit in United States, alleging claims under the Montreal Convention against Malaysia's national airline at the time of the flight, its current national airline, and the airliners' insurers, as well as claims against Boeing, which manufactured the aircraft in Washington state. After the lawsuits were centralized into a multidistrict litigation in the district court, the district court granted appellees' motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds. The DC Circuit held that the district court did not clearly abuse its discretion in dismissing the lawsuits for forum non conveniens. In this case, the district court carefully weighed the relevant public and private interest factors and reasonably concluded that Malaysia is a more convenient forum to try the claims. View "Smith v. Malaysia Airlines Berhad" on Justia Law
Ogawa v. Kang
Japanese national Takeshi Ogawa brought a Hague Convention action against his former wife, South Korean national Kyong Kang, alleging that she wrongfully removed their twin daughters from Japan to the United States in violation of his rights of custody and seeking an order requiring the twins to return to Japan. The district court disagreed and denied Ogawa’s petition, concluding that: (1) the twins’ removal to the United States did not violate Ogawa’s rights of custody, and alternatively, (2) even if their removal was wrongful, the twins objected to returning to Japan. Ogawa appealed. After review, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals determined Ogawa failed to make a prima facie showing that he had any rights of custody as the Convention defined them. Accordingly, it affirmed the district court’s order. View "Ogawa v. Kang" on Justia Law
Vera v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.
BBVA appealed the district court's judgment entered following the Second Circuit's mandate in Vera v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., 729 Fed. App'x 106 (2d Cir. 2018). The judgment rendered final several of its previous orders requiring BBVA to turn over funds to petitioners from a blocked electronic fund transfer originated by the Cuban Import‐Export Corporation, an instrumentality of the Republic of Cuba. The turnover orders rested on the district court's grant of full faith and credit to default judgments that petitioners secured against Cuba in the Florida state courts. The Florida state courts had jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The court reversed the judgment, vacated the turnover orders, and remanded with instructions, holding that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the enforcement proceeding under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). In this case, petitioners failed to show under 28 U.S.C. 1605A either that (1) Cuba was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism "as a result" of the pre‐1982 acts underlying their judgments or that (2) the acts underlying their judgments occurred after 1982. Therefore, without either showing, the state-sponsored terrorism exception did not permit the district court to exercise jurisdiction over Cuba's assets under section 201(a) of TRIA. View "Vera v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A." on Justia Law
Abou-Haidar v. Sanin Vazquez
In this first case arising under the Hague Convention that has reached the DC Circuit, petitioner claimed that his wife, respondent, wrongfully retained their five-year-old daughter in the United States. The court held that the district court did not err in finding that respondent retained the child in May 2019 and that the child's habitual residence was France. The court held that respondent's arguments regarding the date of retention and the child's habitual residence lacked merit. Furthermore, because the parties chose the Mozes framework, and respondent has not challenged the district court's findings under the remaining questions or asserted any defenses, the court affirmed the district court's grant of petitioner's petition for return. View "Abou-Haidar v. Sanin Vazquez" on Justia Law
Broidy Capital Management LLC v. Benomar
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, plaintiffs' action stemming from a Qatari hacking scheme. The court agreed with the district court's holding that defendant had diplomatic immunity from suit under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. In this case, plaintiff failed to meet their burden of proof in establishing that the commercial activity exception to diplomatic immunity applied by presenting evidence to support their allegations that defendant engaged in such activity. The court also held that plaintiffs failed to request jurisdictional discovery as directed by the district court, and amendment would be futile because plaintiffs' proposed amended complaint did not cure the original complaint's jurisdictional deficiencies. View "Broidy Capital Management LLC v. Benomar" on Justia Law
Cvoro v. Carnival Corp.
Plaintiff appealed the denial of her petition to "vacate and/or alternatively to deny recognition and enforcement" of the foreign arbitral award in favor of her employer, Carnival, on her claims under the Jones Act and U.S. maritime law for injuries related to her carpal tunnel. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the petition, holding that plaintiff failed to establish that the foreign arbitral award offended the United States' most basic notions of morality and justice. Weighing the policies at issue and considering the specific unique factual circumstances of this case, the court held that plaintiff's Article V(2)(b) of the New York Convention defense failed. Therefore, the court held that the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's request that it refuse to enforce the arbitral award and dismissing her claims. View "Cvoro v. Carnival Corp." on Justia Law
Yeatts v. Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc.
Biomet employed Yeatts in a role that included implementing compliance policies. In 2008, Biomet terminated its Brazilian distributor Prosintese, run by Galindo, after learning that Galindo had bribed healthcare providers, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 78dd-1. Prosintese still owned Brazilian registrations for Biomet’s products. Biomet could not quickly obtain new registrations, and, in 2009, agreed to cooperate with Prosintese and Galindo “to implement the new Biomet distributors.” A distributor that replaced Prosintese hired Galindo as a consultant. Yeatts communicated with Galindo in that new role. Biomet entered into a 2012 Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice, which required that Biomet engage an independent corporate compliance monitor. In 2013, Biomet received an anonymous whistleblower tip that Biomet continued to work with Galindo. Biomet informed the DOJ and the Monitor, terminated Yeatts, and included Yeatts on a Restricted Parties List. Biomet entered a second DOJ agreement that references Yeatts’s interactions with Galindo and paid a criminal penalty of $17.4 million. In Yeatts's defamation suit, the court granted Biomet summary judgment because Biomet’s statement that Yeatts posed a compliance risk was an opinion that could not be proven false and presented no defamatory imputation. Yeatts could not establish that Biomet made the statement with malice, so Biomet was protected by the qualified privilege of common interest and the public interest privilege. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, agreeing that inclusion of Yeatts on the Restricted Parties List conveyed no defamatory imputation of objectively verifiable or testable fact. View "Yeatts v. Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law
Cerner Middle East Limited v. iCapital, LLC
Cerner filed suit against defendant and iCapital in state court, seeking to enforce an arbitration award against property in Oregon owned by defendants. After removal, the district court dismissed the action. While this appeal was pending, the Court of Appeal of Paris, a court with jurisdiction over defendant, confirmed the arbitration panel's conclusion that defendant was subject to the panel's jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit held that the French court's decision was entitled to recognition under the principles of international comity and thus the elements of quasi in rem jurisdiction were present. The panel held that Cerner possessed a valid judgment against defendant, who owns property in Oregon, and thus the panel reversed the district court's dismissal of the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Cerner Middle East Limited v. iCapital, LLC" on Justia Law
Cerner Middle East Limited v. Belbadi Enterprises
After Cerner filed an action in state court against defendants, defendants removed the action to federal district court. Cerner moved to remand to state court, arguing that the removal was improper and that the federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the action. The district court denied the motion to remand and held that it could exercise jurisdiction under 9 U.S.C. 205, which authorizes a defendant to remove to federal court an action previously filed in state court that relates to an arbitration agreement or award falling under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of June 10, 1958. The Ninth Circuit reversed and held that this case was not related to an international arbitration agreement or award, as that term is used in section 205. Therefore, section 205 did not provide a proper basis for removal or for federal subject matter jurisdiction over this action. The panel held that the outcome of this case could not conceivably be affected by the arbitration awarded. Accordingly, the panel remanded with instructions to remand to state court. View "Cerner Middle East Limited v. Belbadi Enterprises" on Justia Law