Justia International Law Opinion Summaries
Vladyslav Dubikovskyy v. Elena Goun
Defendant violated her joint custody agreement with Petitioner by traveling from Switzerland to the United States with their then-12- year-old daughter, M.D., in July 2020. Petitioner filed a petition seeking M.D.’s return to Switzerland, pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention). After an evidentiary hearing on the merits, the district court denied the petition based on the mature child defense, finding that M.D. was of sufficient age and maturity such that the court should take account of her views and that she objected to returning to Switzerland. Petitioner appealed. The Eighth Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded the case with directions to grant the petition for the return of M.D. under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The court explained that it agreed with the district court that M.D. is an “innocent party” in this acrimonious dispute. But because M.D. did not express a particularized objection to returning to Switzerland, instead describing a preference—for a variety of understandable reasons—to remain in the United States, the district court’s finding that M.D.’s statements constituted an objection within the meaning of the mature child defense was clearly erroneous. View "Vladyslav Dubikovskyy v. Elena Goun" on Justia Law
Maria Dolores Canto Marti v. Iberostar Hoteles Y Apartamentos SL
In January 2020, Plaintiff sued Iberostar under the Helms-Burton Act, which grants the right to sue companies trafficking in property confiscated by the Cuban government. Plaintiff claims that Cuba seized her family’s hotel in 1961 and that Iberostar and the Cuban government now operate the hotel together.Iberostar successfully sought a stay of the proceedings, citing a regulation that prohibits participation in Helms-Burton suits—on pain of a fine that could reach 600,000 euros. Two years have passed since the stay, and Plaintiff sought to lift the stay. The district court denied her request.On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's decision, vacated the stay, and remanded the case with instructions it proceed. The court noted that the stay was indefinite and that the European Union agency tasked with resolving the matter has no timeline for its decision. As a result, the court concluded that the stay is immoderate and must be vacated. View "Maria Dolores Canto Marti v. Iberostar Hoteles Y Apartamentos SL" on Justia Law
Badar v. Swissport USA, Inc.
Pakistan International Airlines (“PIA”) failed to transport the body of N.B. to Pakistan for burial due to a miscommunication by employees of Swissport USA, PIA’s cargo loading agent. N.B.’s family members sued PIA and Swissport in New York state court under state law; PIA removed the action to the district court. Following cross-motions for summary judgment and an evidentiary hearing, the district court held that Plaintiffs’ claims are preempted by the Montreal Convention and dismissed the suit. On appeal, Plaintiffs argued that the Montreal Convention, which preempts state-law claims arising from delayed cargo, does not apply because human remains are not “cargo” for purposes of the Montreal Convention and because their particular claims are not for “delay.” The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that human remains are cargo for purposes of the Montreal Convention; and on the facts found by the district court, the claims arise from delay. The claims are therefore preempted by the Montreal Convention. The court further wrote that it was Plaintiffs who cut off PIA’s ability to perform under the terms of the waybill. That decision was understandable given the need to bury N.B. quickly, and it cannot be doubted that Plaintiffs found themselves in a hard situation. But their only recourse against PIA and Swissport was a claim under the Montreal Convention, a claim which they have consistently declined to assert. View "Badar v. Swissport USA, Inc." on Justia Law
Jiangsu Beier Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. v. Angle World LLC
Angle served as the exclusive U.S. distribution agent for Jiangsu, a Chinese manufacturer..Jiangsu claims that, as of June 2018, Angle owed it $1.3 million. Under a June 2018 memorandum of understanding, Angle agreed to pay Jiangsu $528,227.59 within six months. The MOU did not contain an arbitration clause. In July, Jiangsu sent Angle a revised agreement, under which the parties agreed to submit any dispute to the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) with a revised payment schedule. Angle never signed the July MOU. The parties agreed to a payment schedule, without reference to either MOU. Jiangsu repeatedly asked Angle to forward the “signed agreement.” Angle did not make all of the agreed payments. Jiangsu initiated arbitration. Angle objected to CIETAC’s jurisdiction. The Chinese Court found that the July MOU and its arbitration clause were enforceable. The CIETAC arbitration panel independently determined that the July MOU was enforceable under the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods and Chinese law and ordered Angle to pay $624,227.59.Jiangsu sought to enforce its award in the United States under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The Third Circuit vacated the dismissal of Jiangsu’s confirmation petition. While the district court was not bound by the decisions of Chinese tribunals and Angle did not waive its right to contest enforcement, the district court should make an independent determination as to arbitrability. View "Jiangsu Beier Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. v. Angle World LLC" on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Andris Pukke
Appellants sought to develop thousands of acres of land in Belize, which they marketed as a luxury resort called “Sanctuary Belize.” In their sales pitch to U.S. consumers, many promises were made but not kept. In 2018, the FTC shut this down, calling Sanctuary Belize Enterprise (SBE) a “scam,” and alleging violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule for making misrepresentations to consumers. The FTC also brought contempt charges against Appellant stemming from past judgments against him. After an extensive bench trial, the district court found ample evidence of violative and contumacious conduct, ultimately ruling in the FTC’s favor. Appellants appealed and the Fourth Circuit affirmed in large part, the one exception being vacating the equitable monetary judgments in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission. The court explained that the various permanent injunctions—including the prohibition of SBE individuals and entities from engaging in further misrepresentations—are appropriately tailored to prevent similar scams in the future. Further, the court held that the district court in Maryland was within its discretion to keep the case because the FTC’s allegations in the Sanctuary Belize case rested on the same facts as the telemarketing contempt charges stemming from AmeriDebt, which was litigated in Maryland and which no party had asked to transfer. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Andris Pukke" on Justia Law
Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al.
Plaintiff brought this putative class action against more than twenty banks and brokers, alleging a conspiracy to manipulate two benchmark rates known as Yen-LIBOR and Euroyen TIBOR. Plaintiff brought claims under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and sought leave to assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The district court dismissed the CEA and antitrust claims and denied leave to add the RICO claims. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred by holding that the CEA claims were impermissibly extraterritorial, that he lacked antitrust standing to assert a Sherman Act claim, and that he failed to allege proximate causation for his proposed RICO claims. The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that the conduct—i.e., that the bank defendants presented fraudulent submissions to an organization based in London that set a benchmark rate related to a foreign currency—occurred almost entirely overseas. Indeed, Plaintiff fails to allege any significant acts that took place in the United States. Plaintiff’s CEA claims are based predominantly on foreign conduct and are thus impermissibly extraterritorial. Further, the court wrote that the district court also correctly concluded that Plaintiff lacked antitrust standing because he would not be an efficient enforcer of the antitrust laws. Lastly, the court agreed that Plaintiff failed to allege proximate causation for his RICO claims. View "Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al." on Justia Law
PDVSA, et al. v. MUFG Union Bank, GLAS Americas
On appeal from the district court’s judgment declaring valid and enforceable against Appellants instruments governing a debt issue—notes, indenture, and pledge agreement. The district court granted Appellees’ motion for summary judgment, holding the notes, pledge agreement, and indenture valid and enforceable under New York law, and denied Appellants’ cross-motion, which argued the documents were void under the law of Venezuela, the jurisdiction of the issuer of the notes, and that the court should decline to enforce the notes on the basis of the act-of-state doctrine. The Second Circuit deferred a decision and certified the following questions on the issue to the New York Court of Appeals: 1. Given PDVSA’s argument that the Governing Documents are invalid and unenforceable for lack of approval by the National Assembly, does New York Uniform Commercial Code section 8-110(a)(1) require that the validity of the Governing Documents be determined under the Law of Venezuela, “the local law of the issuer’s jurisdiction”? 2. Does any principle of New York common law require that a New York court apply Venezuelan substantive law rather than New York substantive law in determining the validity of the Governing Documents? 3. Are the Governing Documents valid under New York law, notwithstanding the PDV Entities’ arguments regarding Venezuelan law? View "PDVSA, et al. v. MUFG Union Bank, GLAS Americas" on Justia Law
Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd. v. CVG Ferrominera Orinoco, C.A.
Appellant CVG Ferrominera Orinoco, C.A. (“Ferrominera”), appealed from the district court’s judgment confirming a foreign arbitral award and granting attorney’s fees and costs in favor of Petitioner Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd. (“CME”). Ferrominera challenges the judgment on three grounds. First, it argues that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction because CME never served a summons on Ferrominera in connection with its motion to confirm the arbitral award. Second, Ferrominera contends that the district court erred in confirming the arbitral award based on purported lack of jurisdiction by the arbitral panel, issues with the scope of the award, and conflicts with United States public policy. Third, it argues that the district court abused its discretion in awarding attorney’s fees and costs in favor of CME. The Second Circuit held that a party is not required to serve a summons in order to confirm a foreign arbitral award under the New York Convention. The court concluded that the district court properly enforced the arbitral award, but that it erred in awarding attorney’s fees and costs. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and vacated in part. The court wrote that CME complied with the service of notice requirements of the New York Convention and the FAA, and the district court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over Ferrominera. Further, the court explained that Ferrominera has not borne its burden to show that the arbitration agreement is invalid where, as here, it has put forth no arguments whatsoever under the applicable law. View "Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd. v. CVG Ferrominera Orinoco, C.A." on Justia Law
Aldossari v. Ripp
In the 1990s, Aldossari’s company, Trans Gulf, entered into an agreement in Saudi Arabia with three other businesses to establish and operate an oil refinery in Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island nation. Crude oil was to be sourced from the Saudi government or its national oil company, Saudi Aramco. The project went forward, but, Aldossari alleged, the owners of the three contract counterparties – one of whom became the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia –refused to pay Trans Gulf its share of the proceeds. Two decades later, the soon-to-be Crown Prince promised to pay Aldossari but never did. Aldossari, transferred his rights to his minor son, a U.S. citizen.The federal district court dismissed Aldossari’s subsequent tort and contract claims. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that dismissal of the claims against a deceased defendant was proper because Aldossari failed to allege any basis for exercising subject-matter jurisdiction over those claims. As for the surviving defendants, the lack of any meaningful ties between those defendants and the United States in Aldossari’s claims defeats his effort to sue them in the U.S. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act precludes subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims against Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco. The case was remanded with directions to dismiss without prejudice since none of the dispositive rulings reach the merits. View "Aldossari v. Ripp" on Justia Law
Sheehan v. Breccia Unlimited Co.
Sheehan emigrated from Ireland decades ago and currently lives in Winfield, Illinois. Sheehan obtained loans from an Irish bank to buy interests in an Irish medical company (Blackrock), and to purchase property located in Ballyheigue, Sheehan defaulted on both loans. Breccia, an Irish entity, acquired the loans and took steps to foreclose on the underlying collateral. Sheehan sued but an Irish court authorized Breccia to enforce its security interest in the Blackrock Shares and the Ballyheigue property. Breccia registered the Blackrock Shares in its name and appointed a receiver, Murran, to take possession of the Ballyheigue property. Sheehan filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, triggering an automatic stay, 11 U.S.C. 362 (a)(3). Sheehan notified the Irish receiver, Murran, and Breccia of the automatic stay. Breccia continued, through Murran, to take the necessary steps toward selling the collateral, entering into a contract with IADC (another Irish company) to sell the Blackrock Shares.The bankruptcy court dismissed Sheehan's subsequent adversary complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction over the Irish defendants, as none of them conducted any activity related to the adversary claims in the U.S.; the only link between the defendants and the forum was the fact that Sheehan lived in Illinois. The email notice Sheehan provided the defendants was not sufficient process under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad. The district court and Seventh Circuit affirmed. None of the defendants had minimum contacts with the United States. View "Sheehan v. Breccia Unlimited Co." on Justia Law