Justia International Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
Odyssey Marine Exploration v. The Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel, et al.
This case stemmed from Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.'s (Odyssey) discovery of a 19th Century Spanish vessel in international waters where Odyssey filed a verified admiralty complaint in rem against the shipwrecked vessel and sought a warrant of arrest. The Kingdom of Spain, the Republic of Peru, and twenty-five individuals filed claims against the res and Spain subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the res was a Spanish warship and the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Odyssey's claims because the vessel was immune from judicial arrest under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1602-1611. The court affirmed the district court's grant of Spain's motion to dismiss where the district court correctly applied the Rule 12(b)(1) standard for factual challenges to jurisdiction to Spain's motion to dismiss; the district court did not abuse its discretion by evaluating Spain's Rule 12(b)(1) motion based on the extensive record before it; the evidence in the record fully supported the finding of the district court that the res was the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes (Mercedes), a Spanish vessel that sank in 1804, for the purposes of sovereign immunity and the district court correctly decided that FSIA immunity applied to the arrest of the Mercedes; the cargo aboard the Mercedes was treated as part of the shipwreck of the Mercedes for sovereign immunity purposes; and the district court did not err when it ordered the Odyssey to release the recovered res to the custody of Spain. View "Odyssey Marine Exploration v. The Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel, et al." on Justia Law
Royas Mamani v. Sanchez Berzain
Plaintiffs, citizens and residents of Bolivia, brought suit under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, against the former President and Defense Minister of Bolivia (defendants) for decisions these leaders allegedly made while in high office. Plaintiffs asserted that defendants violated international law by committing extrajudicial killings; by perpetrating crimes against humanity; and by violating rights to life, liberty, security of person, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. The court held that because the pertinent international law was not already clear, definite, or universal enough to reach the alleged conduct (especially after the pleadings were stripped of conclusory statements), the court declined to expand the kinds of circumstances that could be actionable under the ATS to cover the facts alleged in this case. Accordingly, the court held that the denial of the motion to dismiss these claims was reversed. View "Royas Mamani v. Sanchez Berzain" on Justia Law
Lindo v. NCL (Bahamas), LTD
Plaintiff appealed the district court's enforcement of the arbitration agreement in his employment contract with defendant. Plaintiff sued defendant on a single count of Jones Act negligence, pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 30104, claiming that defendant breached its duty to supply him with a safe place to work. The court held that, given the United Nations Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) and governing Supreme Court and Circuit Court precedent, the court must enforce the arbitration clause in plaintiff's employment contract, at least at this initial arbitration-enforcement stage. Therefore, after review and oral argument, the court affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration of plaintiff's Jones Act negligence claim. View "Lindo v. NCL (Bahamas), LTD" on Justia Law
Hofmann, et al. v. De Marchena Kaluche & Asociados, et al.
Plaintiffs sued defendants alleging claims under the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c),(d), and under various state laws based on allegations that defendants defrauded individuals throughout the United States by devising an investment scheme through which investors could purchase real estate interests in luxury vacation properties in the Dominican Republic. At issue was whether the district court properly severed the 232 plaintiffs, and their claims, and instructed each plaintiff to file his or her complaint in a separate action. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction because the severance order was not final and the collateral order doctrine did not apply to an interlocutory order severing claims.
Locarno Baloco, et al. v. Drummond Company, Inc.
The children of three former union leaders murdered in Colombia in 2001 sued appellee alleging that it hired paramilitaries from the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia to assassinate their fathers in violation of the Alien Tort Statute ("ATS"), 28 U.S.C 1350, the Torture Victim Protection Act ("TVPA"), 28 U.S.C. 1350, and the wrongful death laws of Colombia. The children alleged that the murders of their fathers caused them damages including emotional harm, loss of companionship, and loss of financial support. At issue was whether the children possessed constitutional standing and a cause of action under these statutes. The court held that the children easily satisfied Article III standing requirements and clearly have a stake in the controversy that was real enough and concrete enough to entitle them to be heard in a federal district court concerning their TVPA and ATS claims. The court also held that the children have adequately pled a cause of action cognizable under the ATS and the TVPA. The court further held that it could not conclude that the children were also parties to the Drummond I suit and, as a result, reversed and remanded the district court's dismissal of the children's TVPA claims to the extent that it concluded on a motion to dismiss where the doctrine of res judicata precluded the children from proceeding with the case.
Miguel Sanchez Osorio, et al v. Dow Chemical Company, et al
Plaintiffs sued defendants, Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") and Dole Food Company, Inc. ("Dole"), for physical and psychological injuries they sustained from exposure to a pesticide, dibromocholoropropane, Dow supplied to Dole to use on its banana plantations. At issue is whether the over $97 million judgment a Nicaraguan court awarded plaintiffs is enforceable under the Florida Uniform Out-of-country Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act ("Act"). The court affirmed the district court's holding that the Nicaraguan judgment is not due recognition and enforcement under the Act where the Nicaraguan court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and/or personal jurisdiction over the defendants, where the judgment was "rendered under a system which does not provide... procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law" under the Act, and where recognizing the Nicaraguan judgment would be repugnant to Florida public policy.