Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement established Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent, democratic and multiethnic state with two separate political subdivisions—the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After plaintiff was removed from his post in the Republika Srpska government, he filed suit against the Office of the High Representative (OHR), a body charged with overseeing parts of the Agreement's implementation on behalf of the international community. Plaintiff also filed suit against the then-High Representative Jeremy Ashdown and the current High Representative, Valentin Inzko. The district court determined that all defendants were statutorily immune to suit under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq. Plaintiff then sought reconsideration arguing, among other things, that Ashdown and Inzko had not complied with section 8(a) of the IOIA and so were not entitled to immunity. The DC Circuit held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction regardless of the date Ashdown and Inzko's immunity vested. View "Zuza v. Office of the High Representative" on Justia Law

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After an arbitral tribunal in London found the Government of Belize in breach of a settlement agreement with The Bank of Belize Limited, the tribunal ordered that Belize pay the Bank a substantial monetary award. Belize subsequently petitioned for enforcement of the award in district court. The district court granted the petition and Belize appealed, raising multiple challenges. The court accorded Belize's arguments full consideration after careful examination of the record and found them either largely asked and answered by Circuit precedent, or otherwise properly resolved by the district court. The court rejected Belize's argument that the district court's enforcement of the arbitral award violated the New York Convention because it was "contrary to the public policy of" the United States pursuant to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of June 10, 1958, art. V(2)(b), 21 U.S.T. 2517, T.I.A.S. 2517, T.I.A.S. No. 6997, 330 U.N.T.S. 3 (1970); 9 U.S.C. 207. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Belize Bank Limited v. Government of Belize" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to hold the Palestinian Authority vicariously liable for an attack of a holy site in the West Bank by an armed gunman. The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause imposes personal jurisdiction restrictions that are less protective of defendants than those imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment, explaining that precedent foreclosed this claim. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of demonstrating that personal jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority in this case would meet the requirements of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motions for jurisdictional discovery and its grant of the Palestinian Authority's motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "Livnat v. Palestinian Authority" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Ethiopia, alleging violation of the Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510 et seq., and the Maryland common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Plaintiff alleged that he was tricked into downloading a computer program that allegedly enabled Ethiopia to spy on him from abroad. The district court dismissed the suit. The court concluded that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1604, withdraws jurisdiction in toto. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's intrusion-upon-seclusion claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Because the same reasoning applied with equal force to plaintiff's Wire Tap claim, the court also affirmed as to that claim. View "Doe v. Republic of Ethiopia" on Justia Law

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In 1963, the Republic of Guinea entered into an agreement with Halco establishing the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) for the purpose of developing Guinea's rich bauxite mines. Nanko filed suit against Alcoa, alleging breach of the CBG Agreement, asserting that it was a third-party beneficiary thereof, and another for racial discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C.1981. Nanko later added Halco as a defendant and asserted an additional claim against Alcoa for tortious interference with contractual relations. The district court dismissed the case under Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to join Guinea as a required Rule 19 party. The court concluded that the district court's Rule 19 holding failed to fully grapple with Nanko's allegations and that those allegations, accepted as true, state a claim for racial discrimination under section 1981. The court reasoned that, insofar as the existing parties' interests are concerned, evidence of Guinea's actions, views, or prerogatives can be discovered and introduced where relevant to the parties' claims and defenses even if Guinea remained a nonparty. At this stage in the pleadings, the court did not believe that the allegations could be reasonably read to show that Guinea was a necessary party. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Nanko Shipping, USA v. Alcoa" on Justia Law

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This appeal stems from the United States' attempt to extradite Nizar Trabelsi from Belgium based on a grand jury indictment for various conspiracy and terrorism offenses. The district court denied Trabelsi's motion to dismiss the indictment. The court explained that its review is limited and requires deference to Belgium's decision to extradite Trabelsi. The court concluded that this deference creates a rebuttable presumption that Trabelsi’s extradition, and Belgium’s analysis in deciding to extradite him, comports with the terms of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Belgium, Apr. 27, 1987, S. TREATY DOC. NO. 104-7. The court concluded that, although Trabelsi is correct that a Blockburger v. United States analysis is not required under the terms of the Treaty, his argument that the Treaty requires a conduct-oriented test is not supported by the text of the Treaty, which refers to “offenses.” Therefore, the court need not reach defendant's remaining arguments and affirmed the district court's order. View "United States v. Trabelsi" on Justia Law

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After ENPH filed under a power purchase agreement (PPA) for arbitration by the ICC, the ICC issued an award in ENPH's favor. Nigeria now appeals from the order granting enforcement of the Award. The court rejected Nigeria's contention that enforcement of the Award violates the public policy of the United States not to reward a party for fraudulent and criminal conduct pursuant to Article V(2)(b) of The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (known as the “New York Convention”), 21 U.S.T. 2517. The court rejected Nigeria's contention, concluding that the ICC’s findings, to which an enforcing court owes substantial deference, doom Nigeria’s public policy defense in the absence of evidence or equities warranting the piercing of Enron’s corporate veil. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Enron Nigeria Power Holding, Ltd. v. Federal Republic of Nigeria" on Justia Law

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Gilmore, a U.S. national working as a private security guard, was killed in a shooting attack in Jerusalem on October 30, 2000. His estate sued the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. 2333, and related common law theories. After years of litigation, the district court granted the defendants summary judgment. The D.C. Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the judgment, the vacatur of defendants’ defaults, and the denial of the estate’s motion to compel the production of intelligence materials, following in camera review. The court stated that there was no admissible evidence linking any particular individual to the killing and, therefore, no link to the defendants, and noted the “extraordinary circumstances” implicated by the motion to compel. View "Gilmore v. Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority" on Justia Law

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In 42 U.S.C. 433, Congress authorized the President to enter into social security coordination agreements - known as totalization agreements - with other countries. This case involves a totalization agreement between the United States and France. At issue is whether or not two French taxes enacted into law after that totalization agreement was adopted amend or supplement the French social security laws covered by the agreement, and thus fall within the agreement’s ambit. The court concluded that the trial court committed legal error in declaring the status of those French laws not by analyzing the text of the totalization agreement or the understanding of the parties, but by resorting to American dictionaries. The court reversed and remanded because insufficient consideration was given to the text and the official views of the United States and French governments. View "Eshel v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are victims of terrorist attacks and their family members who hold substantial unsatisfied money judgments against defendants Iran, North Korea, and Syria. The money judgments arise out of claims brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1605. In order to satisfy the judgments, plaintiffs seek to attach Internet data managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and, accordingly, served writs of attachment on ICANN. The district court quashed the writs because it found that the data was unattachable under D.C. law. The court rejected ICANN’s challenge to the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction, and assumed without deciding that local law applies to the determination of the “attachability” of the defendant sovereigns’ country-code top level domain names (ccTLDs), and without so holding that local law does not operate to bar attachment of the defendant sovereigns’ ccTLDs. The court concluded that those plaintiffs seeking to attach the underlying judgments in Haim I, Weinstein and Stern have forfeited their claims in toto. Those plaintiffs seeking to attach the underlying judgments in Haim II, Rubin, Wyatt and Calderon-Cardona have forfeited all but their claim grounded in the terrorist activity exception to attachment immunity. Finally, because of the enormous third-party interests at stake - and because there is no way to execute on plaintiffs’ judgments without impairing those interests - the court cannot permit attachment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law