Abelesz v. OTP Bank

Holocaust survivors and heirs of other Holocaust victims sued, alleging that defendant banks participated in expropriating property from Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Invoking subject-matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1330(a), the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C.1350, and federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, they alleged: genocide, aiding and abetting genocide, bailment, conversion, constructive trust, and accounting. Plaintiffs sought certification as a class action and asked that each bank be held jointly and severally responsible for damages of approximately $75 billion. This case and a parallel case against the Hungarian national railway have produced nine appeals and mandamus petitions. The district court declined to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Seventh Circuit, noting that such a decision would ordinarily not be reviewable, stated that: “This is the rare case, however, in which it is appropriate for this court to exercise its discretion to issue a writ of mandamus to confine the district court to the exercise of its lawful jurisdiction” The court cited the extraordinary scale of the litigation, the inherent involvement with U.S. foreign policy, and the “crystal clarity” of the lack of foundation for exercising general personal jurisdiction over the banks. View "Abelesz v. OTP Bank" on Justia Law